CM(2006)212 4 December 20061
983 Meeting, 13 December 2006
11 Administration and Logistics
11.2 Council of Europe Budgets
Memorandum from the Secretary General: replies to written contributions from delegations
In the course of the discussion on the draft Ordinary Budget for 2007 at the Deputies’ 980th meeting (22 November 2006, item 11.1), the Secretary General agreed to respond in detail to the written contributions received from delegations since he published his Budget Priorities document (CM(2006)49) in April.
This document sets out the Secretary General’s responses (in italics) to the written contributions received during the course of the year. They are listed in alphabetical order (with the original document reference at the time of distribution) with the exception of a contribution from Armenia which was received after the preparation of the document had begun and has, for practical reasons, been included at the end. A thematic index is included in Appendix 2.
1-9 France DD(2006)639 13/11/2006
10-25 Germany DD(2006)423 04/07/2006
26-43 Italy DD(2006)314 17/05/2006
44-47 Italy DD(2006)364 12/06/2006
48-50 Italy (comments library) DD(2006)654 21/11/2006
51-53 Luxembourg DD(2006)647 16/11/2006
54-61 Netherlands DD(2006)334 26/05/2006
62-65 Poland DD(2006)139 14/03/2006
66-77 Poland DD(2006)613 07/11/2006
78-93 Slovakia DD(2006)281 02/05/2006
94-98 Sweden DD(2006)325 22/05/2006
99-107 Switzerland DD(2006)324 22/05/2006
108-109 Switzerland (Swiss approach GR-SOC) DD(2006)552 09/10/2006
108-109 Switzerland (Swiss approach GR-C) DD(2006)554 09/10/2006
110-114 Switzerland DD(2006)615 07/11/2006
115-123 Ukraine DD(2006)216 31/03/2006
124-129 United Kingdom DD(2006)406 22/06/2006
On this basis, the Secretary General has also submitted a proposal for further savings in the 2007 Ordinary budget which can be found in document CM(2006)49 add2.
France / UK
1. Proposals for reducing the total amount of the 2007 budget
With zero real growth the ordinary budget would have totalled M€ 194.3 (190.1 million + 2.2%). The current projection is M€ 199 (198.989, i.e. + 5.91% for 2006 and + 3.96% on the amount based on zero real growth). We must bear in mind that this will be the basis for calculation of the 2008 ordinary budget, no matter what developments take place concerning the partial agreements.
In the 2007 priorities document (CM(2006)49, page 12), the inflation adjustment was calculated on the basis of the total budget of expenditure in accordance with normal practice. Accordingly, the total ordinary budget based on zero real growth should amount to €194.5 M (€190.148 M + €4.356 M). The difference between this figure and the latest budget ceiling proposal of € 198 989M being considered by the Committee of Ministers, i.e € 4.277 M, represents the increase in resources requested for the Court comprising:
· € 1 752 000: full year effect of 2006 decisions;
· € 370 800: miscellaneous requests;
· € 2 154 500: revised enhancement plan.
If the total of the 2007 budget were based on zero real growth, the adjustments proposed for the Court (€4.3 M) would have to be financed by reductions in other parts of the budget.
2. Substraction of transfers to other budgets: cf. the Budget Committee's recommendation
a)€ 250,000 transferred to the pensions budget
The € 250 000 transferred from the ordinary budget to the pensions budget represents the costs of managing the files of pensioners, including calculating and paying their pension benefits.
The Secretary General clearly indicated in his document on priorities (CM(2006)49) that this revised arrangement represented a transfer of charges.
Effectively, this transfer of charges represents an increase in resources for the ordinary budget which might be taken into account when fixing the ceiling for 2007.
b)€ 322,000 transferred to the Pharmacopoeia
(pro memoriam: consolidation of the reintegration of M€ 1.253 for experts' allowances)
In the 2006 priorities document (CM(2005)97), it was proposed that certain entire sectors of activity including the programme “Health Care and Quality Standards” be removed from the ordinary budget and possibly continued within the Partial Agreement framework. The implementation of the proposal for health would have released €451 100.
In the course of the 2006 budgetary discussions, the Deputies decided to partly re-integrate health activities into the 2006 ordinary budget, on the basis of transitional arrangements, for a total of €298 800.
The option of transferring blood transfusion and organ transplantation activities in 2007 to the budget of the Pharmacopeia will permit the continued implementation of activities linked to the action plan, with no increase in member states' contributions to the partial agreement budget.
This transfer does not create any additional burden in member states’ contributions.
3. Rate of inflation applied: 2.2%; proposed: 1.7%. Here there are two aspects:
The DGAL will produce simulations of the variability of the rates applied to different categories of expenditure, for examination by the Budget Committee in May.
At the same time, the question of the rate applied to the budget as a whole (2.2% based on the annual average for the Eurozone) should be further discussed. According to our information, the question seems to have been settled by a "tacit decision". It would be worth holding a debate and taking an official decision.
In substance, it would seem logical to take the inflation rate recorded in France, i.e. 1.7%, since most expenditure is probably incurred in France and possibly in the neighbouring countries (whose rates of inflation might also be taken into account). Moreover, this is the rate applied by the OECD rather than the Eurozone rate.
The problems posed in the past, as explained by the DGAL, resulted from the fact that the inflation rates applied were "forecasts", which were by nature uncertain. The solution of using the "recorded" rate of inflation for the past year ended those problems in a satisfactory manner. This solution is just as relevant for the Eurozone inflation rate, as it is in the case of France.
Since 2002, the Committee of Ministers has adopted budgets incorporating a general rate of inflation based on the March to February average rate in the euro zone as reported by Eurostat. The Secretary General has no objection in principle to applying in future the inflation rate of the host country for the same period, again as determined by Eurostat, so long as a decision is taken for a minimum five year period.
In the detailed preparation of the budget, different adjustment coefficients are applied to different items according the nature of expenditure but the overall adjustment is maintained within the overall adjustment bracket.
More detailed explanations appear in the Appendix to this document.
4. Salary adjustment: Salaries in the national civil services have not been indexed for many years now. Moreover, it can be noted that the CCR's "recommendations" are, by nature, not binding.
* We favour giving further consideration to the "Swiss proposal". However, should it prove difficult to devise an "objective, stable and foreseeable methodology" on that basis, we would like all the alternatives to be explored with a view to finding a solution this year.
A majority of delegations did indicate in GR-AB that they wished the Council of Europe to remain in
Co-ordination. The question of the salary adjustment method is currently the subject of debate in the Committee of Ministers. Any departure from the CCR recommendations would have budgetary consequences.
5. We suggest a "proposal aiming for simplicity" and meeting the above criteria regarding the methodology. This would consist in applying the host country's inflation rate as sole criterion. As mentioned above, this could possibly be a combined rate including the rates of the four neighbouring countries (for simplicity's sake on a parity basis, without a CCR-style weighting). This would therefore be a return to an adjustment on the same scale as the adjustments applied in the national civil services, with constant staff numbers, the criterion which would seem to have been applied here until 2003.
See number 4
6. If this method were to be considered too "simple" or to follow a too strict indexation logic, consideration should be given to the solution recommended by the Chair of the Budget Committee, with reference to the note by the Legal Department (GR-AB(2006)27). In conclusion it pointed out, in paragraph 25, that "the automatic nature of a salary adjustment for cost of living (in particular inflation) is not an acquired right; conversely, its periodic nature (... as regards inflation) does constitute an acquired right for serving staff, since the purpose of a periodic adjustment is to avoid an erosion of salaries drastically altering staff's terms of employment" (based on decisions by the Administrative Tribunals of the ILO and the World Bank). The proposal for a revision clause when aggregate inflation has reached a 5% threshold could therefore usefully supplement the "simple solution".
See number 4
Note GR-AB (2005)17 on the role and jurisdiction of the Administrative Tribunal of the Council of Europe is also of relevance to the discussions on this subject.
Programme of activities
7.Savings were mentioned by various delegations at recent meetings of the GR-AB. We support the proposals concerning:
- the non-convention based activities on sustainable development and migration, following a logic of refocusing on the Council of Europe's key tasks;
a) These proposals have been taken into account in the revised option 1 document (CM(2006)49 add) of the Secretary General.
See also number 13
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007
- and the field of communication.
b) Further savings in this area would be detrimental to visibility and impact of CoE activities in Member States.
Proposal has been considered, but there is no consensus .
We consider that other efforts could be made:
- holding more colloquies/forums/conferences in Strasbourg to reduce expenditure on official journeys and rental of meeting rooms, while also decreasing time spent travelling;
c) Proposal is not quantifiable. There is a constant effort to minimise costs.
Proposal is taken into account. No quantifiable impact on budget 2007.
- assessment of whether it is worth inviting a large number of participants to colloquies (all expenses paid) when their very number results in a corresponding reduction in their speaking time.
d) Experts meetings have been for decades the essential pillar of the work of the Council of Europe. Meetings are always organised with a view to cost-efficiency. Working methods are currently systematically examined, including by external consultants. This might lead to additional efficiency gains in the future. (see also numbers 22, 99)
Proposal is being taken into account. No impact on the budget 2007
8.If none of these measures can be adopted, or if the secretariat is unable to propose targeted cuts, we could but regretfully suggest an across-the-board 10% cut in the programme of activities implemented by DG III and DG IV.
Chapters IV and V will decrease by 7.20% and 4.04% respectively, the latter in spite of necessary increases in the area of Intercultural Dialogue (cf. CM(2006)146 Volume II and DD(2006)511). There will be further reductions in Chapters IV and V as a consequence of the rejection by the CM of the proposal to stop or reduce the reimbursement of experts allowances: compare Priorities for 2007 – Revised proposals by the Secretary General,(cf. CM(2996)49 add): additional reductions are - in activities and staff - for DGIII (€178 000) and DGIV (€241 600).
See also numbers 74, 108 and 109.
Proposal partially taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007, unless agreement on the additional (linear) PoA cuts, which would not be advisable from a managerial point of view and could also trigger additional (temporary) costs in case of suppression of posts.
9.Negative reserve of M€ 2.872/Clarification: The Budget Committee raised the question of the budgetary orthodoxy, and the prudence, of such a mechanism for overbudgeting of expenditure or expected under-achievement of programmes.
The mechanism of a negative reserve has been in place for a number of years. It was introduced on the recommendation of a former Chairman of the Budget Committee, during a budget debate in the Committee of Ministers, as being a practice used within European Union budgets. It is correct that its use relies on the fact that the annual budget is never fully spent, but it must be noted that its use has never led to an overall overspending of the budget.
Reductions in the negative reserve could only be achieved by means of equivalent cuts in the budget.
German remarks and proposals for budgetary savings and priorities for 2007
10. Following the request of the Chair of the GR-AB to submit proposals and comments on the priorities for the Council of Europe’s activities in 2007, Germany would like to contribute a first comment to the ongoing discussion. Bearing in mind the decision taken by the Heads of State and Government in Warsaw to focus Council of Europe activities on its core objectives (promoting human rights, democracy and rule of law) Germany supports all efforts aiming at reducing expenditure in areas of lesser priority. In this regard a prioritisation of priorities should be considered. Given the importance of the European Court for Human Rights it is imperative to ensure its efficiency. Without allocation of necessary resources a substantial reform of the Court cannot be achieved. However, in view of the overall financial situation all budgetary demands of the Court have to be thoroughly examined.
The original proposal of the draft PoA includes overall reductions of 1.75% in comparison to 2006. Wereas the Promotion of Human Rights (Chapter I) has been reinforced (increase by 3.73%), Chapters IV and V will decrease by 7.20% and 4.04% respectively, the latter in spite of necessary increases in the area of Intercultural Dialogue (cf. CM(2006)146 Volume II and DD(2006)511). There will be further reductions in Chapters IV and V as a consequence of the rejection by the CM of the proposal to stop or reduce the reimbursement of experts allowances. See Priorities for 2007 – Revised proposals by the Secretary General,(cf. CM(2006)49 add): additional reductions are - in activities and staff - for DGIII (€178 000) and DGIV (€241 600).
The 2 options in the priorities document (CM(2006)49) were presented in the context of financial constraints which increasingly lead to a competition between the needs of the Court and those of the Programme of Activities. The two options relate to the principal political question whether Member States wish to finance the needs of the Court separately or whether there is a common ceiling for both the PoA and the Court, putting them in direct competition for funding. Even though the revised option 1 includes elements of the previous option 2, the general question remains and will have to be addressed by Member States in the years to come. As for the budget 2007, the budget provisions for the Court have been reviewed following recommendations of the Budget Committee.
See also numbers 8, 11, 13, 74, 78, 108 and 109.
Proposal partially taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007, unless agreement on the additional (linear) PoA cuts (Swiss proposals), which would not be advisable from a managerial point of view and could also trigger additional (temporary) costs in case of suppression of posts .
11. In order to allocate enough financial resources to the Court budget cuts in other areas of activity seem to be unavoidable. It has to be taken into consideration that in many European countries these days budgets are subject to significant cuts . The Council of Europe cannot be fully exempted from this fiscal policy.
Since Germany attaches great importance to the role of the Council of Europe in promoting Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law both, budgetary constraints and functional capability of the Council of Europe have to be considered.
The following comments are meant to meet these requirements.
The Secretary General included the Court’s requests in the draft budget, and these were studied in detail by the Budget Committee, which reduced them considerably (by € 2.4M including the impact on DGAL expenditure). The revised proposals have been studied by the GR-AB in the presence of the Registrar of the Court and the Chair of the Budget Committee.
The needs of the Court, its working methods and its absorption capacity will remain major issues in the coming years, also taking into account the recommendations of the Wise Persons Report. Therefore, the current de facto competition of the Court and the Programme of Activities (see option 2 of the priorities document, which has been supported by several delegations) needs to be addressed in order to ensure the sustainability of the Programme of Activities. (See also numbers 10 and 78).
The Proposals have been considered. Further reflection is needed. There is no further impact on the budget of 2007, unless additional savings in the Court budget are envisaged. This could include postponing recruitment for 37 positions from July to October, reducing IT investment, rejection of upgradings for Registrar and Deputy Registrar and rejection of the proposed increase for fact finding missions:
- postponed recruitments: 538 500
- no upgradings: 35 500
- no increase in fact finding missions: 50 000
- reduced IT equipment: 100 000.
12. Germany in principle prefers Option 2 of the SG’s proposals for CoE’s budget 2007 as set out in document CM(2006)49.
The Human Rights protection system of the Council of Europe is unique and cannot be compared to any other international structure. The budget of the Council of Europe should therefore not be divided. In this regard Germany believes the budget of the Court should be part of the overall Council of Europe budget. However, given the importance of the Court the role of President of the ECHR in budgetary questions has to be adequately reflected. It is of particular importance to ensure and to foster the independence of the Court and its rulings within the system of the CoE.
Following discussions, the Deputies were in favour of maintaining the Court's budget within the Council of Europe budget. The Secretary General also pointed out that the Court transmitted its budgetary requests directly to the Committee of Ministers.
See also numbers 10, 11 and 78
Proposal has been taken into account. No direct impact on budget 2007
13. The Lines of Action 1 to 4 are focussing on CoE’s core activities and should therefore have a priority status. Consequently the Lines of Action 5 to 8 could be subject to significant budgetary cuts.
The original proposal of the draft PoA includes overall reductions of 1.75% in comparison to 2006. Whereas the Promotion of Human Rights, has been reinforced ( Chapter I increase by 3.73%), Chapters IV and V will decrease by 7.20% and 4.04% respectively, the latter in spite of necessary increases in the area of Intercultural Dialogue (cf. CM(2006)146 Volume II and DD(2006)511). There will be further reductions in Chapters IV and V as a consequence of the rejection by the CM of the proposal to stop or reduce the reimbursement of experts allowances. See Priorities for 2007 – Revised proposals by the Secretary General,( cf. CM(2006)49 Addendum): additional reductions are - in activities and staff
(€178 000 for DGIII and €241 600 for DGIV).
The proposal has been taken into account.No further changes concerning the PoA budget for 2007 are recommended.
See also numbers 10 and 80.
14. Germany favors in principle pluriannual budgeting. However, given the present insecurity regarding the CoE’s budgetary needs (Reform of the ECHR, new CoE-buildings) a pluriannual budget should not be implemented at this moment. Following the Budget Committee’s recommendation, the CoE should provide member states with an estimated middle-term budget that later allows an evaluation if the indicated financial provisions have been sufficiently correct. On the basis of experiences with this procedure, the CoE could envisage the introduction of a pluriannual budget at a later stage.
At the Deputies’ request the Secretary General has already put forward proposals, for a pluriannual budget but they were not favourably received by the GR-AB. Following discussion in the GR-AB on 22 June 2006, the Secretary General presented multiannual forecasts (see document CM(2006)146, voladd1rev.)
No direct relevance for budget 2007.
15. Transfer of activities into partial agreements that are not linked to the core objectives of the CoE could be considered. Prior to such a decision a feasibility study should be conducted. The present scope of each activity concerned should be the basis of any feasibility study in this regard in order to give a clear impression on the costs for transition of an activity into a partial agreement.
Some activities have been transferred to Partial Agreements as part of the effort to prioritise the Organisation’s activities, for example:
- decision (CM/Del/Dec(2006)978/6.1 – 25 October 2006) transfer of the Programme “Health care and quality standards” to the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicine;
- decision of the 981st meeting (29 November 2006, item 8.1a): the Deputies “expressed in principle their approval for the setting up of an Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), and invited those States Party to the European Cultural Convention who so wish to notify the Secretary General in writing, without delay, of their intention to join the EPAS”.
The priorities document for 2007 (CM(2006)49) clearly stated that proposals in option 1 excluded health and sports activities for which transitional arrangements were made in 2006.
Proposal has been taken into account. Implemention of the Partial Agreement is underway.
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget of 2007.
16. Reduction in personnel, committees, sub-committees, expert groups etc. seems to be indispensable. In this regard the Council of Europe should provide member states with a table of all groups, committees, sub-committees, etc. indicating their superior organs as well as personnel bound to these groups. In particular non-core activities should be subject to scrutiny.
Supporting the proposal of the Slovak delegation, the added value of the different existing centres of the CoE should be re-evaluated.
The rationalisation of committees has been extensively discussed in the framework of GT-REF INST.
A table of committtees has been provided (latest version: GT-REF-INST(2006)5revised of 1 September 2006). A number of measures have already been taken. According to a GT-REF-INST analysis prepared for the 975th CM meeting, (CM(2006)168), the number of committees will be reduced by 36% in 2007. CM(2006)49 Memorandum from the Secretary General on Priorities for 2007 proposes operational reductions in the PoA (of € 161 400) coupled with cuts in staff expenditures of 256 000 Euros. Further examination of these questions will take place in the context of Chapter V, in particular as concerns the studies related to intergovernmental working methods and staff-activity ratio, due in the spring of 2007.
See also numbers 83 and 99
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007.
17. As information about the CoE’s work and activities can easily be extracted from the Internet the CoE could consider the closure of some of its Information Offices in member states if they are not needed for any other purpose than information. In this context, it could also be considered to merge CoE’s Information Offices and Field Offices.
A number of rationalisation measures have been suggested on the basis of a comprehensive survey concerning Information Offices. There was, however, only an agreement (TC-INF) to close 3 regional Information and Documentation Centres (Saratow, Jekateringburg, Veliko Turnovo). Further proposals to close 6 more Information Offices were rejected by some delegations.
See also numbers 82 and 97.
Proposal has been considered, but it has not been fully implemented due to lack of consensus.
No potential impact on the budget 2007, unless the closure of additional Information Offices is reconsidered: potential additional savingup to €402 000.
Working methods for the discussion on the CoE’s budget 2007
18. Prioritisation of activities demands a high level of transparency. Therefore, the CoE should provide member states with information on all activities and projects along the criteria for projects (see doc. CM(2006)146 including German amendments as set out in doc. DD(2006)213) as well as detailed information on budgetary implications (including personnel costs).
Several attempts to achieve a consensus about prioritisation have failed. The discussion about the criteria for the creation of new projects, justifying the maintenance or leading to the closure of projects is still ongoing (cf. CM(2006)101 prov2) An agreement on these criteria will hopefully facilitate further prioritisation. See also numbers 80 and 82.
Proposal is under consideration. No further impact on the budget of 2007
19. Germany supports the proposals of the Swiss delegation asking the Secretariat to prepare a documentation of all kinds of activities planned for 2007, identifying the responsible groups and budgetary amounts related to their work including personnel costs. This documentation including comments of the responsible working groups or committees etc. should be subject to a discussion among member states in the framework of GT-REF.INST as soon as possible.
A document on standard-setting activities was provided (GR-J(2006)13E). A detailed or even approximate cost-activity projection is not available at this stage, but will hopefully be possible after the external studies on working methods and staff-activities ratio are completed..
Proposal partially taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007.
Elaboration of future norms and projects
20. The Warsaw Action Plan and the core objectives of the CoE should form the basis for any future activity. The implementation of the Action Plan and the activities linked to its core objectives are priority issues.
All programmes of the PoA 2007 include a direct text reference to the Warsaw Action Plan.
See also number 94
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007
21. In this regard Germany supports the idea of the Dutch delegation to apply systematically
a strategic approach as presented in doc. CM(2005)37. This approach could be combined with the CoE’s criteria for projects (CM(2005)146) on all areas of activities. This would contribute to a more long term vision.
Germany agrees with the proposal of the Swiss delegation, new activities and projects should only be started if a vast majority of member states expresses a genuine interest in those. It should be imperative that these norms and projects fulfil the CoE’s criteria for projects (CM(2005)146).
The Secretariat has repeatedly called for a more strategic discussion aiming at a more consistent pluriannual planning process incorporating programming, budgeting and human resources aspects.
See also numbers 80 and 99.
Proposal has been considered and is being further examined. No impact on the budget 2007 to be expected.
Personnel and system of reimbursement of travel costs and daily allowances
22. Germany has the impression that costs related to personnel are disproportionate to operational costs for projects in several areas of activities of the CoE.
Along with the proposed reductions in activities are proposals for reductions in staff. This is the rationale also followed in drawing up the Secretary General’s revised proposals. Thus, further to the reductions in staff contained in document CM(2006)146, Vol. I, amounting to 10 posts, the draft budget for 2007 now includes additional reductions of 5 posts (see document CM(2006)49 add, p. 4).
As part of the implementation of the Action Plan, Chapter V (cf GT-REF.INST(2006)6), a study by independent experts is looking into the staff/activities ratio. The conclusions are due to be submitted in March 2007 and will be presented to the GT-REF.INST.
Proposal is under consideration. No further impact on the budget 2007 expected.
23. As to the membership of the co-ordination system (CCR) and the proposal of several delegations that the CoE should leave the CCR, Germany wishes to draw the member states’ attention to the fact that a new decision on the calculation method for salaries has not yet been adopted by the CCR. Therefore, Germany asks all member states concerned to participate actively in the ongoing discussion within the CCR in order to achieve a more realistic calculation method before considering the CoE’s abandoning of the CCR.
See also number 4.
Budgetary impact will be dependent upon decisions following the discussion on salary adjustments.
24. Concerning the reimbursement of travel costs and daily allowances for government experts Germany disapproves the idea of creating two groups of member states in this field.
The Secretary General has not supported the creation of two groups of member states. This option was suggested by several Member States but did not lead to an agreement: Altogether, several different options of non-reimbursement of daily allowances have been extensively discussed in the framework of TC-INDEMN,
TC-PROG and GR-AB. So far, no agreement has been reached, neither on the principle, nor on the modalities. See also number 100.
Proposal has been discussed with no final agreement. No budgetary impact in 2007, unless delegation wish to reconsider the original proposal, amounting to potential additional savings of up to € 1.253.000
25. With respect to the ECHR’s request for 75 extra staff members per year for 2006-2008 Germany reiterates its position that ECHR’s request should carefully be considered and the creating of permanent posts (causing further unnecessary budgetary strains in the long run) should be avoided if possible.
The ECHR request has been reviewed and reduced to 37 positions.
See also number 11.
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007, unless delegations agree on additional savings as mentioned under number 11. These could include the postponement of recruitment for 37 positions from July to October, reductions in IT investment, rejection of upgradings for Registrar and Deputy Registrar and rejection of increase for fact finding missions.
TEN PROPOSALS FOR BUDGETARY SAVINGS
Contributions to the General Budget (excl. partial agreements, art. 19 Fin. Reg.)
2005: 216.027.800 euros (+ 3,39%) (doc. GR-AB(2004)25rev.)
2006: 225.475.000 euros (+ 4,37%) (doc. GR-AB(2005)32)
2007: 237.439.600 euros (+ 5,30%) (doc. CM(2006)49 + doc. CM(2006)74)
26. We consider the co-ordination system in general expensive and not effective. It includes Organisations with very different resources, kind of activities, structure, degree of specialisation and memberships. The constant target of the CCR appears to be (after a series of meetings of “concertation” and any possible cross-meeting between CCR, CRSG and CRP), apart from self-promotion and survival, the increase in staff expenses of the Organisations. When an agreement is eventually reached among the dozen of national experts participating in the meetings (including Canada, Japan and the USA), its recommendations are normally imposed, via the action of the Secretariat, on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe alone spends every year more than 600.000 euro for its participation in the co-ordination club, while its DGAL has a staff of 411 clerks. The added value of our participation is quite meagre and we consider that the Council of Europe could leave the so-called co-ordination system. We ask the Secretariat to draft a brief paper indicating the cost/benefits of the co-ordination, and the procedures for withdrawal or participating only to the IOS.
See number 4
27. The affordability clause of the Council of Europe indicated in the decision of CM 818 of November 27th 2002 should be better formulated, in order both to make its application possible for budgetary reasons, and to forbid paying salaries increases from other budget votes (for ex. reliquats).
See number 4
28. We support the activity of the working Group of the GR-AB (TC-SAL) aimed at fixing a ceiling to total staff expenditure.
See number 4
29. Expatriation allowances. Currently, staff recruited before 1996 receive a monthly sum equal to 20% of their basic salaries until their retirement (while married); staff recruited after 1996 receive a sum equal to 18% of their basic salaries (while married) during ten years (later progressively reducing to 11% at the 17th year). Staff members in receipt of an expatriation allowances are entitled to paid home leave of eight working days every two years (art. 45 of Staff Regulations).
The possibility of amending the relevant articles of the Staff Regulations in order to gradually reduce the percentage of expatriation allowances for the present staff of the Secretariat should be examined in order to respect the relevant international regulations.
In the meanwhile, starting from 1 January 2007, a new article can be introduced by the Committee of Ministers abolishing expatriation allowances for staff recruited after 1 January 2007.
See number 4
30. Rent allowances (art.11 Staff Regulations)Staff members shall are entitled to a rent allowance provided that the rent paid - excluding all charges - exceeds the proportion of their emoluments. The amount of allowance shall be a proportion of the difference between the actual rent paid (excluding all charges) and nominal sums between 15% and 22% of the monthly emoluments (i.e. basic salary plus other allowances, less pension scheme contributions). This proportion shall be between 50% and 60% (provided that in no case shall the amount of the allowance exceed 5% to 10% of the emoluments).
The possibility of amending the relevant articles of the Staff Regulations in order to gradually reduce rent allowances of the present staff should be examined in order to respect the relevant international regulations.
In the meantime, starting from 1 January 2007, a new article can be introduced by the Committee of Ministers abolishing rent allowances for staff recruited after 1 January 2007.
See number 4
31. Amending the “New Pensions scheme”. According to the old system, staff pays 1/3 of pension contribution, the Budget pays 2/3; the age of retirement is 60. According to the “new Pensions scheme” (1-1-2003), staff pays 40% of pension contribution (always about 3% of basic salary), the General Budget pays 60%, and retirement age is around 63. Furthermore, since several years, an “optional early retirement scheme” costing about 484.800 euros per year is being implemented through internal loans (see doc. GR-AB(2005)9).
Today, the Pensions Fund of the Council of Europe is facing very serious problems and in absence of additional reforms a crisis will be inevitable.
The possibility of amending the current Regulations in order to gradually increase from now the staff contributions and gradually raise from now the retirement age for the present staff of the Secretariat should be examined in order to respect relevant international regulations.
In the meantime, new rules can be introduced by the Committee of Ministers for staff recruited after 1 January 2007: increasing the contributions to the Pension Fund from the Staff members, and raising the retirement age to 67.
The increase of contributions from the staff members will increase the meagre liquidity of the Pensions Fund.
At the same time, even if retirement at 67 will be effective approximately between 2027 and 2050, there will be an immediate reduction of future liability of the Pensions Fund, contributing to preventing the crisis of the Pensions Fund.
Since 2002 staff recruited by the Council of Europe have been affiliated to the new pension scheme which involves a different breakdown of contributions (40 % for staff instead of 33 % in the old system) and a higher minimum retirement age (63 instead of 60, with in both cases compulsory retirement at 65 at the latest). Any changes would entail setting up a third scheme.
This proposal could be considered in CCR, but could not reasonably be put into effect in the short term. Therefore, no impact on budget 2007.
32. Reduction of expenses for Experts Committees (224 plus partial agreements) through: reduction of their number, reduction of the number of participants, better use of technologies, reduction of the meeting days.
GT-REF-INST has thoroughly examined this issue. See number 16
No further impact on budget for 2007.
33. A 10% reduction of expenses for external consultants (2.158 contracts and about 5,4 million euros in 2004, including 313.000 for the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress) should allow an economy of about 540.000 euros.
The immediate effect of a 10% reduction in the volume of consultants on the ordinary budget would be around € 250 000. This would probably have negative effects on the implementation of many activities. The use of consultants is currently under review. This is a complex issue and among others linked to working methods (see ongoing studies, question 83) and a number of human resources issues, and must also be seen against the background of the ambitious goals set by the Heads of State and Government and sometimes cumulative requirements of financial and managerial as well as specific thematic and operational expertise, which cannot always be ensured within the Secretariat. Nevertheless, based on ongoing discussions and GR-AB document (2005)19 further savings in this area could be envisaged.
"Proposal is under consideration. A reduction by 10% is not recommended because its impact cannot be evaluated on an ad hoc basis. However, savings of up to 5% (125.000,-€) could be envisaged."
34. Reconsider the expenditure of 162.100 euro for “Staff Committee and Amicale” (chap. 0704).
The activities of bodies representing the staff are presented on pages 104 and 105 of the draft budget. The Secretary General considers it to be his responsibility to ensure the functioning of democratic staff representation bodies and to promote staff cohesion and morale by social activities.
This question was addressed by the GR-AB on 22 June 2006, and no consensus was reached
Proposal discussed: No further action recommended for 2007 budget.
35. Loans to the staff: Secretariat must inform Delegations about the state of facilities given by the Bank (chosen by the Secretariat for providing services to the Council of Europe) to the staff who is going to buy a house. In particular, Delegations should be informed whether the operations imply monetary or implicit costs (working time) for the General Budget.
Loans contracted between staff and the Bank have no budgetary implications for the Organisation.
No impact on 2007 budget.
EIGHT PROPOSALS FOR MORE TRANSPARENCY AND EFFICIENCY
36. Split the current salaries of the permanent staff into three components*:
- Basic salary, subject to annual increases to be decided by the Committee of Ministers after consideration of the relevant recommendation from the CCR ; the recommendation will be based both on life cost index (and not on purchasing power parities) and on the evolution of the mass of salaries in the reference countries.
- Position remuneration, related to the position occupied by the officers (i.e. Head of Division, Head of Office, Special Representative and so on)
- Performance remuneration, related to the achievement of the objectives assigned at the beginning of an yearly or bi-yearly period.
Introducing pay based on merit has been the subject of much discussion under the new human resources policy, but it would not have any effect on the budget in the short term. For the time being the Secretary General has decided to concentrate on measures to deal with both over-performance and under-performance. A draft rule on the matter is under consultation with the Staff Committee.
The Secretary General will make proposals for possible future action. No immediate impact on 2007 budget.
37. Transparency of internal procedures of the Secretariat and of the human resources policy, concretely implementing Chapter V of the Action Plan (« A titre urgent et prioritaire, nous chargeons le Comité des Ministres et le Secrétaire Général, avec l'assistance d'une expertise indépendante, de donner un nouvel élan au processus de réforme des structures organisationnelles et des méthodes de travail du Conseil de l'Europe. Ce processus devra viser, en s’appuyant sur les efforts déjà en cours, à un fonctionnement efficace de l’Organisation, conformément à ses objectifs et en gardant pleinement à l’esprit la nécessité de restrictions budgétaires. Une attention particulière devrait être consacrée aux initiatives ayant pour but le développement de la transparence et de la rentabilité ainsi que la coopération et le partage des connaissances à l’intérieur de l'Organisation »).
We also believe that the Budget Committee, the External Audit and the Internal Audit would provide very useful suggestions.
In the framework of GT-REF-INST and GR-AB, initiatives and recommendations contained in Chapter V of the Third Summit, Internal Audit reports and Budget Committee reports have regularly been discussed. External studies about working methods and staff-activity ratio are underway (cf. DD(2006)437). See also number 16.
Proposal has been partially taken into account. No direct relevance for budget 2007.
38. Presentation of one General Budget (excluding partial agreements) and introduction of a multi-annual budget.
According to art. 38 of the Statute, the Budget is annual. Nevertheless, starting from 2007, it would be possible to present with the annual draft budget, a document including projections of expenditures for the following years. Successively, the possibility of adopting a three years budget would be examined.
See number 14
39. The complexity and articulation of the Council of Europe requests a deep control, which should include a real « value for money audit »,as requested by the CM. The amount of 135.000 euros paid in 2006 to the External Audit (currently the British National Audit Office, CM(2003)75 and CM(2003)153)) is only the 0,06% of the General Budget of the CoE.
We propose to reinforce the External Audit.
The Secretary General considers that existing arrangements are adequate for the time being(2007 budget for internal audit: €592 900; 2007 budget for external audit: €138 000).
No action recommended for 2007 budget.
40. The Budget Committee should resume its statutory role of advice to the Committee of Ministers about all « financial and administrative matters » (art. 29 of Financial Regulations). Furthermore, it should draft autonomously its agenda and recommendations to the CM. The CM should receive the agendas and the documents drafted for the Budget Committee by the Secretariat. The Chair of the GR-AB should be invited to attend the meetings and the Chair of the Budget Committee should participate at least once per year both in the GR-AB and in the Committee of Ministers.
The Budget Committee has never considered it necessary to meet more often. Any proposal from it would be carefully considered by the Secretary General.
No action recommended for 2007 budget.
41. Also the Internal Audit should be reinforced and its suggestions applied. Its Director should meet at least once per year both the GR-AB and CM
The Internal Auditor already presented his annual report to the GR-AB. Over 80% of internal audit recommendations are accepted and implemented.
Proposal already in effect.
42. The practice of recurring to internal loans and bank loans should be stopped. Take note that the loan for the construction of the new building for general purposes (around 61 million euros at current prices) will be reimbursed until 2023.
Internal loans granted are budgetarily neutral for the Organisation. As regards investments, the DGAL stopped raising new internal loans as from 2005; repayment of existing internal loans will have to be continued until 2009.
No impact on 2007 budget.
43. To speed up the work of the Delegates, documents should be clear, synthetic and objective.
Titles should reflect the contents and a synopsis should indicate the real consequences of the proposed measures.
Proposals from the Secretariat should try to reflect the orientation of Delegations, and should be preceded by some informal consultation to check the intentions of PRs.
Efforts are being made to improve the quality of documents. This must take into account the needs of the CM as well as the needs of other target groups. The Directorate of Strategic Planning is further examining this issue.
Proposal has been considered. No impact on budget 2007 foreseen.
* Already on November 27th 2002, the Committee of Ministers decided that « provision is made for the possible introduction of flexible management of salary scales, to be examined by the CCR after having been submitted to the Committee of Ministers ».
On July 8th 2004, the Committee of Ministers « requested that the CCR start to examine immediately alternatives to the current remuneration adjustment method …with a view of reducing automaticity, and in order to more closely reflect the real level and effective trends in salaries in the national civil services of reference countries and introduce performance related criteria ».
The CM decision of December 15th 2004 indicates that the Committee of Ministers is waiting for proposals of the SG for 2005 «in the light of concerns expressed on the automaticity of salary increase and the growing proportion of salaries in the ordinary budget »
See number 4
REMARKS AND PROPOSALS - GR-AB MEETING 22 JUNE 2006
“Priorities for 2007 – Budgetary Implications”
We recall that Italy (like Switzerland, Slovakia, Netherlands) presented on 17 May 2006 a new set of proposals for substantial budgetary savings not affecting the Programme of Activities (which is the core of the existence of the Council of Europe) (doc. DD(2006)314).
44. “Expatriation allowances” The Committee of Ministers is the only organ entitled to take decisions (within the limits of relevant international principles). The first sentence of document GR-AB(2006)13 of 17th May is misleading, the second one is an evident mistake (Reports of CCR can not amend Staff Regulations).
See number 4
45. The “Closure of the Library” of the Council of Europe (pag. 5 doc. CM(2006)49) makes no sense. The proposal is not elaborated and relevant figures do not exist, both in the mentioned document and in the Budget 2006. The Secretary General said that “The Committee of Ministers has considerably reduced human and financial resources allotted in 2005 to the library in comparison with 2004. This limited level of resources is putting in danger the visibility and preservation of the Vedovato Library”. But the Delegates were never informed that the budget 2005, approved on 15 December 2004 (CM 909^, item 11.3 + appendix to res(2004)48), would have lead to the closure and alienation of the library.
On April 2006 the Secretary General decided, without informing the Delegates, to find in Strasbourg a “library with the will and the possibility of hosting the Vedovato collection”.
In any case, the closure and alienation of the library would be in contrast with the Convention signed on
27 January 2004 by Prof. Vedovato, the Secretary General and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly (no mention of the ceremony and no mention of the Convention are in the website of the Council of Europe).
Last but not least, the alienation of the Library would cause the loss of a unique heritage of enormous historical and juridical value (and also of economical value - twenty years ago, doc. 6468 of 409^.57b dated 5-6-1987 indicated an estimated value of about 5.000.000 French francs).
In the face of existing budgetary constraints, the Secretary General has decided to give priority to the protection of the historical heritage of the Organisation, ie printed, audio and video archives.
The Secretary General is proposing that the library collections be transferred to a more appropriate institution to make them more accessible to a broader public.
Retaining the library under minimum operational conditions would mean increasing the budget by € 644,000 (see doc GR-AB(2006)17) and would therefore require additional cuts of this amount.
46. Reduction in Security expenditure (pag. 5 doc. CM(2006)49). The proposal of a further reduction of security, not provided of figures, is not acceptable.
The Secretary General points out that the revised security measures are based on expert reports by two outside companies specialising in security matters. They involve reduced expenditure in some areas and increased expenditure elsewhere.
No impact on 2007 budget.
“CCR – preliminary exchange of views”
47. “Co-ordinating Committee on Remunerations (CCR)” As already remarked, on page three of the “synopsis” of the meeting of 2 May (doc. GR-AB(2006)CB4), the discussion of the item is not correctly reported. On May 2nd, seven Delegations supported the proposal of a withdrawal from the system, and nine Delegations asked the Secretariat to draft in any case without delay a brief paper indicating the cost/benefits of the co-ordination and the procedures for possible withdrawal (or participating only to the IOS). Nothing has been done until today.
See number 4
PROPOSED CLOSURE OF THE LIBRARY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Said proposal was mentioned for the first time in the document CM(2006)49 of 5 April 2006, and no supporting figures were given by the Secretary General in stating that “The Committee of Ministers has considerably reduced human and financial resources allotted in 2005 to the library in comparison with 2004. This limited level of resources is putting in danger the visibility and preservation of the Vedovato Library”, as well as in resorting to find in Strasbourg a suitable “library with the will and the possibility of hosting” it.
48. No information was supplied in advance to the Delegates that the 2005 budget (approved on 15 December 2004 – CM 909, item 11.3; appendix to res(2004)48) would lead progressively to the closure and displacement of the library. An “internal study” carried on by the Secretariat on the library and the “agreed solution” to alienate it was disclosed only at a later stage, through document GR-AB(2006)17 of
7 July 2006.
It is accepted that the decisions resulting from the budget for 2005 (prepared before the current Secretary General took up his mandate) may not have been made clear to permanent representations, but the current Secretary General has increased transparency for all financial matters. The internal study was not disclosed in connection with the budget for 2005 because it was not done at the time of those budget decisions. It was commissioned by the current Secretary General.
See also number 45
49. The closure of the library of the Council of Europe, the first European Organisation, would lead only to negligible budgetary savings, causing instead the loss of a unique heritage of paramount historical and juridical importance (composed of 300,000 books, mainly in English and French, and of countless publications), as well as of relevant economic value (estimated twenty years ago in about 5,000,000 French Francs – document 6468 of 409.57b of 5 June 1987).
The transfer of the Library to another institution would not lead to its loss. The transfer would improve access to it.
See also number 45
50. The closure and alienation of the Library of the Council of Europe would create, in any case,
a controversial issue in the light of the Convention signed on 27 January 2004 by Prof. Vedovato, the Secretary General and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, concerning the commitment of the Council to provide budgetary means and the necessary personnel and facilities “pour mettre en valeur la donation” of Professor Vedovato (IV Part).
The Secretary General has tried unsuccessfully to engage Prof. Vedovato in discussion about the future arrangements for the Library, but it is understood that Prof. Vedovato is waiting for a decision in principle by the Committee of Ministers.
See number 45.
51. Luxembourg supports option 1 and is thus in favour of financing the ECHR’s additional needs outside of zero growth.
In the light of the GRAB discussions on Tuesday 7 November I would like to give you our approach on the proposed upgradings at the ECHR.
In Lord Woolf’s review of ECHR working methods one of the recommendations for handling the Court’s present and future workload more effectively was appointment of a deputy registrar with responsibility for management. As far as I personally can see, the proposal to upgrade the two posts of registrar and deputy registrar is made only secondarily. Lord Woolf’s emphasis in this proposal is in fact solely on the greater responsibility involved.
The Deputy Registrar responsible for management has already been appointed.
See also number 11
52. Nevertheless I take the view that upgrading of the posts of registrar (from A7 to special appointment) and deputy registrar (from A6 to A7) should be postponed to 2008 or at least staggered. To my mind, implementation of this measure is not a priority in the present budget outlook and is not a sine qua non of greater Court efficiency, particularly as all the CoE staff will no doubt eventually be asked to make a collective effort in the pay sphere.
The fact is that an affordability clause will shortly be discussed as part of the CCR recommendations on rate of pay adjustment, which will no doubt mean future pay changes more in tune with the chosen rate of budget growth. This, in my view, is one of the priority avenues for achieving budget savings in future with the focus on maintaining the activity programme and viability of the Organisation.
The proposed reclassification has yet to be approved by the Deputies. The saving in the event of maintaining the status quo would be € 35,500.
See also number 11
Potential savings of €35 500 in 2007 budget if upgradings not approved by Committee of Ministers.
53. Luxembourg further takes the view that if there are to be cuts to the activity programme in addition to those already made they should be applied equitably across the range of activities and be borne by all the directorates. From this standpoint, with regard to the 2007 activity programme in the fields of culture, cultural heritage and education, Luxembourg is unable to approve cuts additional to the already substantial ones in these areas, which are of value to the promotion of human rights.
The Secretary General does not recommend any further cuts in the PoA 2007.
See also numbers 78, 108 and 109,
Proposal in conformity with proposals of Secretary General. Therefore no further impact on budget 2007.
The Netherlands is of the opinion that the implementation of the decisions taken at the Third Summit – as reflected in the Warsaw Declaration and the Action Plan – should form the basis on which overall priorities are set and resources are allocated. Foremost, this means that all activities envisaged should contribute to the core objective of promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It is our understanding that the Action Plan – in which the concrete priorities of the organisation for the coming years are laid down – provides the basis for the continuing reorientation of the Council of Europe. The Action Plan should form a blueprint for the Programme of Activities. The latter should therefore be adapted in accordance with the former, namely by reducing the Lines of Action to five in line with the chapters of the Action Plan. On the basis hereof as well as the criteria articulated in doc. CM(2006)146 for launching new and continuing or sunsetting existing projects, the Netherlands believes it is possible to formulate a realistic Programme of Activities within the framework of zero real growth of the budget. The Netherlands furthermore wishes to draw attention to the proposal for a strategic approach with respect to health related activities as adopted by the Committee of Ministers in doc. CM(2005)37. The systematic application of such a strategic approach could benefit all areas of activity of the Council of Europe.
This has been largely taken into account. Several attempts to achieve further prioritisation have failed. The discussion about the criteria for the creation of new projects, justifying the maintenance or closure of projects is still ongoing (cf. CM(2006)101 prov2). An agreement on these criteria could facilitate further prioritisation.
See also number 80
Proposals largely taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007.
The Netherlands attaches great importance to the work of the European Court of Human Rights and welcomes the recent decisions of the Committee of Ministers to further consolidate the Council of Europe system of human rights protection. Subject to (1) sound implementation of these decisions, (2) further prioritisation within the Council of Europe, (3) continued enhancement of the efficiency and transparency of the overall activities of the organisation, (4) the absorption capacity of the Court and (5) its short-term workload, the Netherlands is prepared –in anticipation of the final report of the Group of Wise Persons – to reserve an extra amount of money with a view to hiring necessary extra staff for the Court (option 1 in doc. CM(2006)49).
See numbers 11 and 13
Proposals have been considered. No further impact on the budget of 2007
56. Further priorities for the Netherlands with respect to the Programme of Activities are to be found below (based on the 2006 Programme of Activities overview and the priorities presented in doc. CM(2006)49):
Line of Action 1 – Compliance with Human Rights and Rule of Law standards:
· Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: Court’s judgements and execution;
· European Social Charter, namely the monitoring mechanism;
· European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT);
· Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;
· European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
· Commissioner for Human Rights;
· Committee of Ministers monitoring and support to states in implementing commitments;
· While activities to promote the Charter for Regional and Minority Languages could be reduced, the Netherlands is of the opinion that activities to monitor its implementation should be maintained.
Line of Action 2 – Human Rights in Public Policy:
· Human Rights Law and Policy Development;
· Improving procedures, mechanisms and remedies (in the area of human rights protection);
· Human Rights awareness and training;
· Vulnerable Groups (including “exploitation of human beings” and specifically the activities aimed at combating human trafficking);
· Equality and non-discrimination, in particular concerning national minorities;
· Freedom of Expression and information;
· The Netherlands supports activities related to patient rights such as Equity in access to Health Care (including realignment thereof with the core objectives of the Council of Europe with the help of the strategic approach (doc. CM(2005)37);
· The Netherlands questions the relevance of whether the proposed activities in the field of the working poor in relation to the core tasks of the Council of Europe.
Line of Action 3 – Building a society based on the Rule of Law:
· Democratic responses to terrorism;
· Functioning of Justice;
· International law and law making;
· Public law (specifically the activities in the area of nationality law and administrative law);
· Private law and the Protection of Children;
· Programme of co-operation activities in the Chechen Republic.
Line of Action 4 – Promoting Pluralist Democracy and Good Governance:
· Making Democratic institutions work (specifically the “Forum for the Future of Democracy” and “Good Governance in the Information Society”);
· Local and Regional Democracy (with special attention for transborder cooperation);
· Strengthening the role of civil society in a pluralist democracy;
· Activities in the field of Gender equality for a functioning democracy should focus on Balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making and Equality standards and mechanisms;
· The activities of the Secretariat field presence and the information offices should contribute to the promotion of the Council’s core values.
Line of Action 5 – Technological Development, Human Dignity and Democracy
· The Netherlands is of the opinion that activities in the area of health and quality standards are complementary to activities in the field of Equity in Access to Health Care (see Line of Action 2) and would therefore suggest financing these through the ordinary budget, possibly by application of the strategic approach.
· The activities concerning Bioethics, biomedicine and genetics and Information and Communication Technologies (including combating dissemination of illicit or harmful content on the internet) should be reconsidered in light of the core objectives of the Council of Europe.
Line of Action 6 – Building Stable and Cohesive Societies
· Promoting Social Cohesion in Europe (where these activities directly contribute to the Council of Europe’s core objectives in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law);
· Roma and Travellers;
· Intercultural Dialogue;
· Action against violence and insecurity (specifically the prevention of violence against women and children);
The Netherlands supports the sunsetting of activities in the field of migration, but would like to see activities in the field of integration of migrants continued;
· The Netherlands wonders whether the proposed activities in the field of Labour migration and Co-operation with countries of origin of migration contribute to the core values of the Council of Europe.
Line of Action 7 – Promoting Cultural Identity and Diversity
· The Netherlands supports the reduction of funding for activities in the field of sustainable development. Sustainable development receives sufficient attention in other organisations, while its direct contribution to the core objectives of the Council of Europe is questionable.
· The Council of Europe’s cultural activities should be made to contribute to the core objectives of the organisation. Activities concerning cultural heritage do not have precedence according to the Netherlands.
Line of Action 8 – Europe’s future through Education and Youth
· The financial contribution for activities concerning youth should be kept at the same level and should contribute to the core objectives, especailly the European identity and education for democratic culture programme.
· The Netherlands questions the contribution of the European Higher Education Area to the core objectives of the Council of Europe.
Proposals contained in the above paragraphs have been considered and are reflected in the draft budget 2007 (see also numbers 13 and 98). As explained under numbers 15 and 95, there was a prevailing view to transfer some health activities to the Partial Agreement EDQM, amounting to savings of € 322 000 in Vote II (See also number 2).
Proposals have been taken into account. If the transfer of some health activities to the EDQM does not take place, it will be necessary to find other savings which amount to €322 000.
57. Activities outside of the scope of the core objectives
The Netherlands agrees with the proposal to strive for further savings by phasing out specific sectors of the Council of Europe’s work in line with the earlier expressed wish to streamline the activities. It is our understanding that the following areas of activities could be sunset:
· Democratic management of cultural diversity;
· Cultural identities, European heritage and shared belonging;
· Sustainable development;
· European Higher Education area;
· Sports (with the exception of activities in the field of doping control and the spectator violence).
Proposals have been considered. No agreement on complete sunsetting of sectors could be reached, but the above proposals have been partly taken into account by the transfer of sports activities to an Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) under discussion CM (2006)188, cf. decision of CM 981st meeting on 29 November 2006, item 8.1a, and the reductions in environmental activities in the framework of sustainable development. See also numbers 13, 15, 95 and 98.
Proposals have been taken into account and discussed. No further impact on the budget 2007.
58. Long term considerations
With respect to the more general questions raised in doc. CM(2006)49 (p. 9-11), the Netherlands is prepared to discuss the possibilities for pluriannual budgeting and programming procedures, at the same time emphasising the need to give careful consideration to the relation between such procedures and the constitutional competence of national parliaments to fix national budgets on an annual basis.
See number 14
Proposal has been actively discussed, pluriannual perspective has been introduced.
No impact on the budget for 2007.
59. Moreover, the Netherlands supports in principle the idea of developing a strategy for attracting additional resources in the form of voluntary contributions. It is our understanding, however, that such additional resources should contribute to the core objectives of the Council of Europe in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
A resource mobilisation strategy is being developed.
See number 117
Proposal is being followed up. No impact on budget 2007.
60. The same can be said of Partial Agreements. Transferring activities, which do not fall within the scope of the core objectives of the Council of Europe, from the Programme of Activities to Partial Agreements is undesirable.
This point is the exact opposite of the view expressed by Germany (see number 15) and Poland (numbers 64 and 71).
Proposal has been considered. No further impact on budget 2007
61. The proposal to reflect upon the efficiency and effectiveness of the intergovernmental work of the Council of Europe can also count on the support of the Netherlands. Rationalisation, streamlining of the intergovernmental work and the efficient use of scarce resources should go hand in hand, however, with the maintenance of the highest quality of the intergovernmental activities. Moreover, the Netherlands favours a sound balance between the amount of staff employed and the activities deployed by the Council of Europe.
See numbers 22 and 32
Proposals have been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007.
DD (2006) 139
I. General comments:
62. In view of the budgetary restrictions on the Programme of Activities for 2007, it is essential to focus activities on projects relevant to the three pillars of the Council of Europe: democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
See number 13
63. Ending or reducing certain non-essential activities, or postponing those of lesser priority, could be envisaged.
There does not seem to be a consensus about what should be considered as essential or non-essential. The areas of migration and sustainable development (environment) have frequently been mentioned in the context of savings proposals (cf. GR-SOC (2006)CB5 and GR-AB (2006)26) and have therefore been included in the revised priorities option. See also numbers 13 and 80.
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on 2007 budget is recommended.
64. It is important to pursue the discussions on the transfer of certain activities (sport, health, sustainable development and others) to Partial Agreements.
See numbers 15, 60 and 71
65. II. Priorities for 2007
Promotion of and respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law - LoA 1 - 3
- Belarus - implementation of projects based on the proposals by Poland and the secretariat,
- Implementation and monitoring of the action plans for co-operation with:
- the Russian Federation in the Chechen Republic,
- the South Caucasus states,
- the Balkan states.
General considerations: see numbers 13 and 80.
Action Plans are under discussion in GR-DEM and have been integrated as far as possible into the draft PoA 2007. Apart from political considerations, the financial support of the Action Plans needs to be strengthened further. (see also question 117 below).
The Forum for the Future of Democracy - LoA 4
€ 199.200 is budgeted for the Forum on the Future of Democracy in 2007.
Development of local and regional democracy and transfrontier co-operation – LoA 4
Local and Reg. Democracy - 4 projects integrated into PoA (total operational budget of € 650.600)
Promoting intercultural dialogue - LoA 6
Intercultural Dialogue: The draft programme budget 2007 is increased by 11% to €1.169.300 (operational expenditure)
The proposal has been taken into account
Further potential impact on the budget 2007: none
The 2007 budget requires strategic decisions. Any further linear cuts and piecemeal engineering are not a sufficient and effective way to prepare budget for the next year. Our Organisation needs serious and deep reforms.
66. Poland is in favour of Option 2 of the SG’s proposals for CoE’s budget 2007. The ECHR additional needs should be financed within a zero real growth envelope.
There is no consensus concerning this proposal. (See also numbers 13, 22, 32, 78, 80, 81, 82, 99, 100, 101). As explained in the stocktaking document of previous reform initiatives (GT-REF-INST(2006)1) and the priorities document (CM(2006)49, reform initiatives, when undertaken on an ad-hoc basis, have so far been unsuccessful. Therefore, the Secretariat is examining substance and methods of necessary change in the framework of Chapter V of the Action Plan. Potential restructuring measures need to be planned on a pluriannual basis and are not an adequate tool in the annual budgeting process. The external studies concerning working methods and staff-activity ratio will hopefully generate further progress in the areas of rationalisation and efficiency (cf. DD(2006)437).
Proposal is under discussion. No further impact on budget 2007, unless agreement on further cuts.
67. In our opinion structural reform, reorientation of priorities, cuts of the part of the programmes and staff expenditure would provide economies which should be allocated to activities enhancing the core values.
We strongly support the idea of covering all expenditure of the budget 2007 by the rule of a zero real growth.
Proposal has been discussed and partially taken into account (reorientation of priorities, cuts in PoA and staff, see revised option 1). No consensus has yet been reached on the other issues raised.
A further reduction of €4.5 M (€199 M minus €194.5 M– revised draft Ordinary Budget) would have to be found within the Ordinary Budget.
See also numbers 13 and 78
Conclusion: No further impact on the budget 2007
68. We consider that it is not necessary to abandon by the Council of Europe the CCR co-ordination system but the Delegates should be granted the power to take every year a specific decision in this area taking into account the overall financial and budgetary situation prevailing in our Organisation. We disagree with the automatism of salary increase and the growing proportion of salaries in the ordinary budget.
In our opinion costs related to personnel are disproportionate to operational costs for projects in many areas of activities of the CoE. We support the idea of fixing a ceiling total staff expenditure. For the 2007 budget we propose (instead of 132.767 (one hundred and thirty-two million seven hundred and sixty-seven thousand) euros proposed in draft budget 2007) to indicate this ceiling on the basis of the staff expenditure in 2006 (123.959 (one hundred and twenty-three million nine hundred and fifty-nine thousand) euros) and add to it the net additional cost in the full year 2007 of the creation of
46 additional positions in the Registry of the Court, with effect from 1 October 2006 (1.509 (one million five hundred and nine thousand) euros) and the cost of the creation of 37 new positions with effect from
1 July 2007 (2.155 (two million one hundred and fifty-five thousand) euros).
The growing proportion of staff expenditure over the past few years is a direct consequence of increasing the number of staff in the Court. According to the decision taken by the Committee of Ministers at their 971st meeting, the budgetary decisions will make provision for a ceiling to be set on staff appropriations. To this end, a table in conformity with the TC-SAL recommendations is at Appendix I to the draft budget.
The share of staff in the draft Ordinary Budget is shown on page 242 of the Draft Budget for 2007 (CM(2006)146, Volume I). As already stated, the Court is very labour intensive and implementation of each enhancement plan makes it more so.
See also number 66
Proposal has been discussed and is subject to final agreement on the budget. The reduction proposed amounts to €5 144 000.
69. The ceiling total staff expenditure in 2007 would amount to a total of 127.623 (one hundred and twenty-seven million six hundred and twenty-three thousand) euros which represents a reduction of 5.144 (five thousand one hundred and forty-four) euros in comparison with the original proposals for 2007. This reduction includes the liquidation of total amount of provision for 2007 salary adjustment (2.559 (two million five hundred and fifty-nine thousand) euros with a rate of adjustment of 2.2%) and the freeze of all types of allowances (expatriation, residence, education, settling-in, language, rent and others).
See numbers 68 and 87
Note: The reduction proposed amounts to €5 144 000, not €5 144.
70. We are in favour of further prioritisation within the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe shall be concentrated on activities enhancing its core values. We are conscious that it is associated with the decline of the part of the intergovernmental activities. The limited financial resources shall be concentrated on activities promoting democracy, rule of law and human rights, especially in the countries belonging to the new democracies.
The Lines of Action I to III are focusing on CoE’s core activities and should therefore have a priority status. Consequently the Lines of Action IV to VI could be subject to significant budgetary cuts.
There is no consensus so far on this issue. See also numbers 13, 80 and 81..
Proposal has been partially taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007
71. We are in favour of the proposals to transfer programmes regarding sports as well as health to partial agreements.
See numbers 15, 60 and 64
Proposal has been taken into account. No impact on budget 2007
72. We support critical assessment of activities in the areas of social cohesion, sustainable development, environment, youth, sport, higher education and research, cultural heritage and diversity to make them linked more organically to the core objective of the CoE. Without questioning the importance of these domains, it seems appropriate to focus the activities in these fields to what is required by CoE conventions in force.
Poland agrees with the idea that new activities and projects should only be started if a vast majority of member states expresses a genuine interest in them.
See numbers 13 and 80
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007
73. Recourse to the extra-budgetary resources is unavoidable and a resource mobilisation strategy should be developed.
This is being done and is included in the road map of the Chapter V follow-up of the Third Summit.
See numbers 59 and 117
Proposal is being taken into account. No impact on budget 2007
74. In this light we support the Swiss approach and proposal of an overall cut in appropriations of 10% in the social cohesion and culture sectors (approximately 2.5 (two million five hundred thousand) euros).
There does not seem to be a consensus for further significant cuts in DG III and DG IV (see number 8 and also numbers 108 and 109).
Proposal partially taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007, unless agreement on additional (linear) PoA cuts, which would not be advisable from a managerial point of view and could also trigger additional (temporary) costs in case of suppression of posts.
75. Concerning the reimbursement of daily allowances for government experts Poland is in favour of the initial proposal of SG.
Reduction of personnel, committees, sub-committees, expert groups etc is also to be indispensable.
See numbers 13 and 24
Proposals have been considered, but there is no consensus in GR-AB. No further impact on the budget 2007 to be expected, unless issue is reconsidered.
76. We propose a 10% reduction of expenses for external consultants and investment programme 2007 which should allow of an economy of about 550,000 (five hundred and fifty thousand) euros and 540,000 (five hundred and forty thousand) euros.
See number 33
Proposal is under consideration.
Potential additional impact on the ordinarybudget 2007: up to €250 000.
77. The total of these proposals of savings amounts to approximately 8.7 (eight million seven hundred thousand) euros. We believe that with these savings it is possible to formulate a realistic budget within the framework of zero real growth.
All proposals concerning the efficiency and effectiveness of the work of the Council of Europe can also count on the support of Poland.
Significant efficiency gains and savings have already been proposed. There is so far no consensus on these additional proposals which would require drastic additional cuts.
Proposal subject to final agreement on the budget 2007.
Document presented by the SG: express appreciation of the fact that it is readable, comprehensible and, in particular, constructive.
Express appreciation of the description of the current situation: "the Council of Europe has arrived at a crossroads".
78. Choice between the two options put forward in the document: neither is ideal. We think it might be possible to come up with a hybrid option so that a consensus-based solution can be reached.
This is a misunderstanding of what was meant by option 1 and option 2 in the Budget Priorities document provided by the Secretary General in April. The Secretary General asked the Committee of Ministers to decide whether the budget should be prepared on the basis of zero real growth plus additional resources for the Court (option 1) or on the basis of additional resources for the Court within zero real growth (option 2). Slovakia seems to be suggesting that the additional resources for the Court should be found partly through additional resources for the Organisation and partly from within a zero real growth budget. The Committee of Ministers has now to decide how much should be added to the zero real growth budget and how much should be found within a zero real growth budget.
It seems premature at this stage to ask for answers to certain questions (concerning the future of the Court, before knowing the findings of the Group of Wise Persons, pluriannual budgeting and other matters).
The Budget Committee looked at this situation at their September 2006 meeting (see paragraphs 26 to 35 of CM(2006)165). Following this, additional staffing requests for the Court for 2007 were reduced from 75 posts to 37 positions, in both cases with an average recruitment date of 1 July 2007. The impact on the draft budget for 2007 is minus € 2.4M divided as follows: Vote IV minus € 1.76M, Vote VI minus € 0.64M (cf. doc
GR-AB(2006)24, p. 10).
The two options were presented in the context of financial constraints which increasingly lead to an alarming competition between the needs of the Court and those of the Programme of Activities. The two options relate to the principal political question whether Member States wish to finance the needs of the Court separately or whether there is a common ceiling for both the PoA and the Court, putting them in direct competition for funding. Even though the revised option 1 includes elements of the previous option 2, the general question remains and will have to be addressed by Member States in the years to come.
Proposal partially taken into account. Further impact on budget 2007 not quantifiable.
79. The Council of Europe's activities: it is imperative for the Council to concentrate its activities in the areas relating to its three fundamental pillars.
The decisions taken in Warsaw should serve as a basis for cutting back activities, but priority activities should be chosen from the fields mentioned in the Action Plan.
See number 13 and also 116
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007
80. It is essential to "prioritise" the priorities, but at the same time to indicate the activities which enjoy lesser priority and at whose expense this "prioritisation" could take place.
Several attempts to achieve a consensus about prioritisation have failed. The discussion about the criteria for the creation of new projects, justifying the maintenance or leading to the closure of projects is still ongoing (cf. CM(2006)101 prov.) An agreement on these criteria would facilitate further prioritisation.
See also number 54
No foreseeable or quantifiable impact on the budget 2007.
81. Every cutback in activities will have political implications, which is why we support the idea of raising the issue in a manner that is acceptable to the Committee of Ministers (as suggested by the Representative of Hungary).
The political discussion about the continuing trend to further reduce the PoA and its consequences should indeed be intensified, in Strasbourg and in capitals between concerned Ministries. The needs for a functioning framework of planning, programming, human resources aspects and budgeting are currently under review in the context of Chapter V. More emphasis needs to be put on a thematic/transversal consideration of all the instruments and types of intervention which constitute the added value of the CoE.
The proposal to intensify political discussions about the consequences of further reductions of the PoA is supported by the Secretariat. There is, however no further impact to be expected on the budget of 2007
82. It is necessary to take a new look at what is to be gained by the continued existence of the various Centres, the duplication of activities, some obsolete projects and activities, and Council of Europe activities in fields covered by other international organisations or other international bodies.
The structure of the CoE Secretariat is constantly under review in order to increase efficiency, respond to new challenges and avoid duplication. In the context of the budget preparation 2007, the Information Centres and the Youth Centres have been scrutinised. Based on a comprehensive survey, a number of rationalisation measures concerning the Information Centres have been suggested, most of which were however rejected by several delegations. In view of imminent security investments concerning the EYC Strasbourg, the attention of delegations has been drawn to the necessity of a long-term commitment of member states to Youth Policy and the Youth Centres (cf CM(2006)49). This has been widely accepted, in conformity with the Warsaw Action Plan. The criteria paper, once adopted, will be an additional tool to examine added value and potential overlaps (see also numbers 17 and 80).
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007, unless the closure of Information Offices is reconsidered.
Potential additional savings: € 402 000.
83. It is essential to reduce staff and the number of committees, subcommittees, think tanks, advisory groups, etc as activities are cut back.
Along with the proposed reductions in activities are proposals for a reduction in staff. This is the rationale also followed in drawing up the Secretary General’s revised proposals. Thus, further to the reductions in staff contained in document CM(2006)146, Vol. I (amounting to 10 post) the draft budget for 2007 now includes additional reductions of 5 posts (see document CM(2006)49 add, p. 4).
As part of the implementation of the Action Plan, Chapter V (cf GT-REF.INST(2006)6), a study by independent experts is looking into the staff/activities ratio. The conclusions are due to be submitted in March 2007 and will be presented to the GT-REF.INST.
The rationalisation of committees has been extensively discussed in the framework of GT-REF INST. A number of measures have already been taken. According to a GT-REF-INST analysis prepared for the 975th CM meeting, (CM(2006)168), the number of committees will be reduced by 36% in 2007. CM (2006)49 Memorandum from the Secretary General on Priorities for 2007 proposes operational reductions in the PoA (€ 161 400) coupled with cuts in staff expenditures of € 256 000. Further examination of these questions will take place in the context of Chapter V, in particular the studies related to intergovernmental working methods and staff-activity ratio, due in the spring of 2007.
See also numbers 22 and 32.
Proposal taken into account. No further impact on Budget 2007
84. We support the idea of a separate budget for the Court, which would give us reason to hope that the governments of member states, on seeing what it cost to apply the ECHR, would have yet another valid reason for reorganising their domestic judicial proceedings as quickly as possible, to make them more efficient and more effective and thus avert an increase in the number of applications submitted to the CDDH.
The question of a separate budget for the Court was raised by the Secretary General in his document on priorities for 2007.
The SG has presented an analysis of this proposal in doc CM(2006)49. The majority of delegations supported the view that at this stage, it was not advisable to separate the budget of the Court from the Ordinary Budget.
This proposal is budgetarily neutral in any case.
See also numbers 10 and 78
No budgetary impact in 2007.
85. We appreciate the SG's proposals for adjustments, for example the reduction in expenditure on official hospitality and in the number of visits by the SG and Deputy SG, and the suggestions for savings in the form of efficiency gains.
In preparing proposals for 2007, major administrative entities have been requested to make further efficiency gains in addition to those already identified during the 2006 priority setting exercise. Other reductions in service provision and expenditure have also had to be considered. Significant savings have been identified amounting to approximately € 2 M in relation to efficiency gains.
Reductions implemented in the framework of the 2007 draft budget:
- Missions of the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General
and their Private Office:€40 000 (-15%);
- Official hospitality (Protocol):€10 000 (-8%).
86. Despite these proposals, there are still several items of expenditure that seem superfluous in current circumstances, for example the allocation to the Parliamentary Assembly political groups and publication of the Organisation's vacancy notices in the international press.
· Political groups’ appropriations: the amounts in question are € 700,600 for the Assembly and € 21,200 for the Congress;
· Discontinuation of placing vacancy notices in the international press: the savings achieved would be € 100,000; this would lead to a reduction in the quality of the Organisation's recruitment, in particular as regards senior posts because potentially interested candidates would not know about the vacancies.
The Secretary General does not support these proposals.
87. Despite the SG's willingness to put forward some suggestions for reducing payroll costs, this delegation considers that, given the present budgetary situation of not only the Council of Europe but the member states, the remuneration of Council of Europe staff, with all the allowances provided for in the existing regulations, is very generous, if not over-generous. It is no longer acceptable to increase salaries regularly across the board. Given the current situation in my own country, Slovakia, where civil service salaries have been frozen for several years and where every member of the public has been hard hit by the consequences of economic reform and public spending cuts and restrictions, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for the national authorities to agree to an increase in expenditure on staff remuneration, which now accounts for half the budget.
It is essential to review the rules governing salaries and allowances and adjust them to take account of the actual situation, as well as to introduce new rules whereby salary increases would be based solely on merit.
A serious and effective discussion on this subject should be set in motion as soon as possible, as should a discussion on the necessity of being a member of the Co-ordinating Committee on Remuneration (CCR).
See number 4
As for the allowances paid to staff, it should be noted that most of these allowances come under CCR recommendations. Furthermore many changes could not be applied to serving staff. The financial effects would thus tend to be medium and long-term.
Finally, a proposal to revise the education and language allowances has been on the GR-AB’s agenda since September 2006.
Budgetary impact depends upon decisions following the discussion on salary adjustment.
The SG's document mentions some reductions in experts' expenses, but does not envisage any reduction in the travel expenses and subsistence allowances of Council of Europe staff. If it is intended to reduce such expenses, this must be done simultaneously for both national experts and Council of Europe staff. The reduction in expenses should be based on tailoring subsistence allowances to circumstances and expenditure actually incurred, streamlining financing arrangements and cutting expenditure through such means as the use of economy class airline tickets.
In April 2005, the Deputies adopted the method for adjusting the subsistence allowances for staff on official journeys which will be in force until 31 December 2008.
The cost of the per diems shown in the draft ordinary budget for 2007 is estimated at € 1.4 million.
The Secretary General has already included a cut of 15% (see 85) in the provision for travel in 2007 by the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General.
The Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General already travel economy class whenever it is considered appropriate. Other members of the Secretariat always travel in economy class.
No additional impact on budget for 2007.
88. The need to finance classes and vocational, language and other forms of training for Council of Europe staff is also debatable. If candidates fulfil clearly defined job requirements, such as professional expertise, knowledge of languages and managerial skills in the case of senior posts, and they are recruited to the posts in question, why should training courses subsequently be funded for them?
While this affirmation is correct in respect of persons newly recruited, it nonetheless remains the case that the staff with longer service in the Organisation need to maintain their level of technical proficiency and keep abreast of developments in their field. Where language training is concerned, it should be remembered that staff who are not native French or English speakers have to become progressively trilingual. Furthermore, the Secretary General has asked the Directorate of Human Resources to put greater emphasis on management training. The € 776,000 operational training budget for 2007 is less than half the minimum threshold recommended by the ILO( i.e. 2% of the wage bill).
No further impact on the budget for 2007.
89. There are still several fields in which savings could be envisaged:
- the production and distribution of paper versions of documents available in electronic form, and their costly dispatch by post to national experts, followed by their distribution in meeting rooms;
- the printing of brochures to be used as working documents on paper that is needlessly expensive, in countries where labour is very costly (European Language Portfolio, Concerted Development of Social Cohesion Indicators - Methodological Guide, Council of Europe 2005 Activity Report, etc);
The number of documents printed on the Organisation's facilities has steadily decreased and will be further reduced in 2007:
- budget 2005: 114.3 million pages
- budget 2006: 105.7 million pages
- draft budget 2007: 100.1 million pages
It should be emphasised that the reduction would be greater if publications previously produced externally were not now being produced internally(to spread further the fixed costs of production).
In the case of leaflets and pamphlets produced externally, comparative estimates are systematically requested in accordance with the financial regulations and best procurement practice.
In the short term, an immediate drop in demand of 5% would only produce savings of 2.7%, or about € 56 000, as a result of fixed costs linked to the production of documents, in particular the leasing of printing equipment.
The potential impact on the budget for 2007 would be insignificant.
90. Expenditure on translation and interpreting: we have one suggestion, which is that arrangements be made over the next four years for the two official languages (English and French) to be used alternately as from 2010. This would allow enough time to prepare Council of Europe staff and allow members of the diplomatic corps to acquire a sufficient knowledge of both languages for it to be unnecessary to provide across-the-board translation and interpreting on a regular basis. Translation should be confined to standard-setting documents, and interpreting to clearly defined activities and situations. The savings on document translation, interpreting at meetings and language training would be substantial;
Discussions on this matter in the Committee of Ministers in the past have failed to result in agreement.
No impact on the budget for 2007.
91. - a similar reduction should be envisaged in the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities;
- recourse to the services of outside consultants: virtually every expert working unit is entitled to call on the services of outside consultants, even though its members are themselves experts chosen for their expertise for a clearly specified purpose (the Committee of Ministers has not yet received satisfactory justification for the expenditure of € 3 million on the services of outside consultants in 2004);
- the constant (and unnecessary) proliferation of bodies that are supposed to solve problems that we should tackle ourselves in co-operation with the Council of Europe Secretariat, on the grounds that they are wiser and more competent than us when it comes to finding solutions.
a) PACE/Congress: see number 86
b) Consultants: see number 33
c) Proliferation of bodies: this item relates to decisions taken by the Committee of Ministers. The Secretariat is committed to a swift and comprehensive implementation of Chapter V of the Warsaw Action Plan. This item could be discussed in the framework of GT-REF.INST.
See also number 66
No immediate impact on the budget for 2007.
92. When the current situation is described as one in which the Council of Europe "has arrived at a crossroads", this could be interpreted as meaning that the Council of Europe needs to be radically and rapidly reformed in all its fields of activity. We must stop using such arguments as, "Things are like that because that's the way they are", and review the Council of Europe Statute, which is not set in stone, and all the relevant obsolete documents, which ought to reflect current needs. If the Council of Europe is a unique pan-European organisation of historic merit, this should be seen as an asset and not as grounds for taking a stick-in-the-mud approach to the Council's development.
Reform Initiatives continue to be pursued in the framework of Chapter V of the Action Plan. The Secretariat is currently working on proposals to further improve efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and visibility (cf. DD(2006)437). A revision of the Statutes has not yet been actively supported by other member states, but a discussion about this issue is not excluded if the organisation follows the logic of the Chapter V of the Warsaw Action Plan.
The proposal can be taken into account in ongoing discussions, but it has no direct impact on the budget 2007.
93. It is for this reason that this delegation is prepared to make a constructive contribution to this reform and to the reform of the budget, both of which are indispensable.
Proposal is not quantifiable. Budget simplification is underway.
As a contribution to the discussions on the priorities for the Council of Europe's activities in 2007, Sweden would like to share some suggestions of indications on how the Summit's decision on pursing its core objective of preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law could be further implemented under present budgetary restraints.
94. A. Building on the Progress Review Report (CM/Inf(2006)14)
· The report recommends enhanced co-operation and co-ordination in the the CoE activities in order to better contribute to the implementation of the CoE human rights standards. This seems to be relevant for the activities of different Directorates-General, for example between DGII and DGIII concerning the social field, including the domain of disabilities, and the rights of the child.
· The report proposes that thematic policy/strategy papers should be developed in order to have
a more long term vision and a more horizontal approach. This would facilitate discussions on priorities and provide a better basis for raising external funding.
· The report underlines the need for strengthening the resources of monitoring mechanisms, as well as reviewing their procedures with a view to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness.
· The report stresses that activities regarding gender issues need to be supported by more substantial appropriations.
· There are many more useful recommendations in the report which would merit careful consideration in the elaboration of the Programme of Activities for 2007.
Recommendations contained in the Progress Review Report 2005 and discussions in TC-PROG and
GR-AB have been taken into account as far as possible. The new structure of the PoA reflects better the priorities of the Warsaw Action Plan and allows for a thematic and therefore transversal presentation.
Gender mainstreaming: see number 119Gender issues and the campaign on the protection of women against violence, including domestic violence (project DG2/75) are included in the 2007 draft PoA.
Proposals have been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007.
95. B. The Secretary General's proposals for 2007 (CM(2006)49))
· The proposals for 2007 by Line of Action (pp.6-7) can in general be supported, both regarding increases and savings. At this stage, the following proposals would, however, seem to be problematic:
- LoA 1: before starting to upgrade standards in the field of Cybercrime, the present convention needs first to be ratified by more member states;
LoA 3: the proposal of reducing the number of participants for the elaboration of an instrument on the protection of children against sexual exploitation. It should be elaborated in a committee of 46 members.
· Pending the presentation of the feasibility studies, Sweden maintains its reservations regarding the proposals to transfer activities regarding sports as well as blood transfusion and organ transplantation to partial agreements.
· Sweden supports continuation of youth activities linked to the core objective of the CoE.
Proposals have been considered and discussed in the relevant fora. Apart from the general continued support of youth activities, the other suggestions have not been followed by the majority of delegations. The discussion about the transfer of sports and health activities to Partial Agreements supported these transfer proposals (see number 15).
Proposals have been considered. No further impact on the budget of 2007
96. C. Some specific proposals
· The Summit's commitment to achieving real equality between women and men could be further implemented through consequent gender mainstreaming in CoE activities. A manual on how to ensure this should be developed as a tool for the staff and the CoE institutions and bodies.
Gender aspects have been taken into account in several Chapters of the PoA, in particular in Chapter III (Programme on Gender equality for a functioning democracy). Further expansion of this aspect would require additional political support and funding. Otherwise, additional savings would need to be identified.
· The campaign against violence against women, including domestic violence, need to be given relevant financial means.
The budget for the campaign (DG2/75) exceeds 1 M€, including € 880.000 of Voluntary Contributions.
· Activities related to promotion of democracy could be further co-ordinated, and the concerned structures gradually adapted for this.
Structures are constantly being reviewed in order to attain the highest possible efficiency. (see also numbers 32, 37 and 92)
Proposals have been taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007
97. D. Reviewing working methods and structures
· Standard-setting has been, and should continue to be, at the core of the CoE. However, priority should now be given to implementation of standards. Work on new instruments should be initiated after careful consideration of the expected added value.
· The possibility of reviewing and adjusting, at least partly and gradually, the CoE committee structure should not be excluded in the elaboration of the Programme of Activities. For instance, Sweden maintains its proposal to merge CDCULT and CDPAT, which is likely to save costs and enhance co-ordination and transversality.
· Unless a binding legal instrument should be elaborated, an attempt should be made to make use of groups with a limited number of members. The proposals of specialist groups would be considered by Steering Committees (or similar body) including all 46 member states.
See numbers 16, 32, 37, 54, 80, 92 and 95.
· The CoE field offices constitute an asset which must be maintained. However, the result of the study regarding information offices should be carefully considered, not least regarding possibilities for increased efficiency and savings.
There has not been a consensus on the recommendations following the study on Information Offices (see number 17).
Proposals have been considered. Potential impact on the budget of 2007 only if recommendation of closure of additional Information Offices is reconsidered.
98. E. Activities to be refocused, reduced or sunset
(a) Without questioning the crucial importance of sustainable development, it seems appropriate to limit the activities in this field to what is required by CoE conventions in force.
(b) Work related to migration could concentrate on integration, non-discrimination and cultural diversity, based on respect for universal human rights. A specific issue of great importance, relevant to migration, is the fight against trafficking in human beings.
Reduction and refocusing of activities has been discussed and implemented in particular in the fields of sustainable development and Migration: refocused and streamlined in the 2007 budget, generating additional total savings in the Revised proposals by the Secretary General of €299.400 (staff and operational) : See number 13.
(c) With regard to higher education and research Sweden questions the plans to focus on such a broad project as the one on the mission and role of higher education and research in modern, complex societies. Priority should be given to other activities in the area of higher education and research.
Higher Education: area has been downsized and refocused in comparison to original planning.
(d) To what extent activities on European identities and cultural routes contributes to the core objective of the CoE should be examined and relevant measures taken.
The Cultural Routes project is included in a cultural heritage project (DG4/479).
Proposals have been considered and have generated savings. No additional impact on the budget 2007.
Possible ways and means for identifying economies in the Program of Activities 2007 –
a methodological approach
Council of Europe’s action in the three main areas of its essential mission is inspired by a common and solidarity driven commitment in favour of establishing, promoting and defending a pan-European community of fundamental values based on human rights, democracy and rule of law. Its convergence point: the emergence of a Europe without dividing lines with a easily recognizable normative identity mentally interiorized by its citizens.
The edification of such a Europe draws on two basic principles of action:
the principle of solidarity (commitment in favour of common norms, mutual cooperation and assistance)
the principle of subsidiarity (distribution of the tasks of implementing the normative acquis between the Council of Europe and its members/…/
Concentration of the activities of the Council of Europe on its essential mission
99. The application of these two basic principles of action in the Budget and Program of activities areas allows for starting the envisaged re-concentration process in the following manner:
a) by applying the principle of solidarity:
The elaboration of all kinds of norms under any denomination whatsoever ought to touch upon topics a majority of member States have a marked interest in, which is to be positively and unequivocally stated by them. In addition, these norms should fulfil the criteria of pertinence, value added, impact and durability (cf. CM(2005)146)
· all groups, under any denomination whatsoever, that intend to work in 2007 on “conventions”, “recommendations”, “guidelines”, “good practices” etc. are put into hibernation for the year 2007.
Exceptions: groups affiliated to CDDH, CDCJ, CODEXTER, CDCP and working on papers which, according to the principle of solidarity, clearly fulfil the criteria already mentioned.
The Secretariat will make up a list of all kinds of documents to be worked out in 2007, identifying the responsible groups and the budgetary amounts related to their work (including personnel costs) and will distribute it to the Permanent Representations in the framework of GT-REF.INST the soonest possible.
· all steering committees are tasked to evaluate the impact and the durability of all normative documents elaborated under their responsibility during the last 5 years. To this effect, they develop themselves an evaluation concept which will guide the research work of the Secretariat in gathering the relevant data. The interpretation of these data falls under the exclusive responsibility of the steering committees concerned. They inform the CM about the result not later than end of April 2007
all steering committees prepare their projects for the Program of activities 2008 presenting for every activity written arguments demonstrating its link with the essential mission of the Council of Europe with the help of the criteria of pertinence, value added, impact and durability2. They present the result of this effort to the CM not later than end of April 2007.
Remark: The evaluation of the normative documents and the presentation of the program of activities 2008 backed by written arguments will allow CD’s, in the light of the principle of solidarity, to revive and reinvigorate their sense of ownership of their own activities3.
In general: see numbers 13, 32 and 80. The reduction or “hibernation” of committees has been extensively debated in the framework of formal and informal discussions of GT-REF-INST (cf. decision of 975th meeting of CM on 11 October 2006, item 1.8). The result showed that beyond the proposed reductions already contained in the draft PoA (reduction of number of committees by 36 %) there was no consensus and no significant scope for quantifiable additional savings in 2007 at this stage. Following the CM decision of the 975th meeting, further proposals will be considered by relevant Rapporteur Groups for the year 2008. Additional criteria for rationalising the work of intergovernmental committees will hopefully be available following the outcome of the external studies currently underway (see also numbers 16 and 32).
The proposal has been taken into consideration. No additional impact on budget 2007 to be expected.
The principle of solidarity has an exemplary bearing on the common financing of all budgets of the Council of Europe on the basis of the agreed contribution schemes.
· all government experts ought to be treated equally as to the reimbursement of their travel costs and daily allowances on the basis of the relevant schemes in force or adapted in a common agreement. Creating two groups of member States in this field is conducive to a move to depart from the principle of solidarity.
As to the elaboration of normative documents and their terms of reference (guidelines, good practices etc.) or the design of particular policies in areas which do not attract the interest proper of a clear majority of member States, the government representatives concerned elaborate, on the basis of the relevant criteria (cf. CM(2005)146), a draft of the terms of reference containing the relevant written arguments. This kind of projects is eligible in preference to be included in the different programs of cooperation and assistance of the Council of Europe. Such a flexible approach is prone to take full advantage of the expertise of the Council of Europe accumulated in the meantime in the fold of its Secretariat. If necessary, the Secretariat can associate national experts well-known for their expertise in the fields concerned, who would offer their contribution by electronic means in preference.
The issue of government experts, in particular the proposal of non-reimbursement of daily allowances as contained in the priorities document has been extensively discussed in the framework of TC-INDEMN, TC-PROG and GR-AB. So far, no agreement has been reached on the principle at the modalities.
See also numbers 32, 75, 80 and 99
Proposals have been considered, but there is no consensus. No further impact on the budget 2007 to be expected, unless issue is reconsidered.
(Potential additional savings: €1 253 000.1. b) by applying the principle of subsidiarity:
The application of this principle to the various tasks of the Council of Europe consists in making a clear distinction between the tasks depending primarily on the responsibility of each member State and those related to the specific competences of the Council of Europe.
· the Council of Europe abandons all activity of promoting conventions, recommendations, guidelines etc. (so no seminars of this kind anymore). The competent Ministers, however, undertake to encourage their counterparts on bilateral visits to ratify such instruments. The Secretariat prepares memoranda to be handed over on such occasions.
The Secretariat itself could in this context develop to the extent necessary its cooperation with the INGO registered with the Council of Europe. The INGO offer their cooperation in promoting such instruments as a counterpart for the financial support they get from the Council of Europe budget with the proviso to be compensated for with some modest additional targeted financial support in very precise circumstances and provided that such promotion were a special collateral activity on the occasion of an event organised by themselves. Additional advantage: civil society would be sensitized by its own structures and in a targeted manner to these norms which in a great measure remain legally not binding.
The Secretariat is constantly trying to implement the principle of subsidiarity. There is however, still a strong need and demand for the Council of Europe to assist Member States in promotion activities. The Secretariat is aware of the valuable role which can be played by INGOs in this context and is therefore closely cooperating with them.
Proposal has been taken into account. No budgetary impact in 2007
· in order to better exploit the expertise accumulated by the Secretariat, a sensible reduction in recurring to services of external consultants is pursued, especially by expert groups. In fact, it is difficult for delegations to struggle against the stinging suspicion that constant recourse to external consultants constitutes an indirect means to increase its personnel.
See number 33
Specific proposals (Switzerland)
With a few exceptions the following specific proposals don’t directly spring from the methodological approach pursued beforehand. They are, however, in a great measure resulting from an evaluation effort based on the criteria exposed in document CM(2005)146 (namely the criteria of pertinence, value added, impact and durability).
1.1. The following new programs proposed in document CM(20206)49 (p. 6f) are abandoned:
o the issue of the “working poor” (LoA 2)
o the problems of heavily indebted families (LoA 2)
o Labour migration (LoA 6)
o Co-operation with countries of origin of migration (mostly focused on the implementation/dissemination of the recommendations on migrant associations and co-development and on unaccompanied minors) (LoA 6)
o the values and roles of higher education and research in modern societies (LoA 8)
The Migration programme has been reduced in 2007 compared to 2006. Further cuts have been agreed following proposals contained in revised option 1- notably the cancellation of Project 2007/DGIII/1138 Migrants and North-South dialogue. The “Labour Migrants” project has been downsized and the “Working poor” component has been abandoned. The “Heavily indebted families – project” was abandoned and the terms of reference of the Group of Specialists on Seeking Legal Solutions to Debt Problems (CJ-S-DEBT) will expire
31 Dec 2006 and will not be renewed.The higher education programme has been downsized in comparison to its original planning.
Proposals have been taken into account. No further impact on the 2007 budget.
1.2. MONEYVAL to be transferred into a Partial Agreement
The following considerations underpin this proposal:
o Its evaluation program is based on new methodologies agreed by GAFI and international financial institutions; they imply the application of highly developed financial, procedural and institution-building techniques; no direct implementation of Council of Europe’s normative acquis is targeted
o MONEYVAL enjoys the formal statute of a regional organisation affiliated to GAFI (according to the exclusive criteria of the latter)
o The evaluation results are processed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the framework of their activities
o The vested interest of the member States concerned is essentially political: their better integration into the globalized financial markets
o The relatively limited number of member States concerned
This proposal has so far not received support from any other delegation and will therefore have no budgetary effects in 2007. (For transfers to Partial Agreements, see numbers 15, 60, 64 and 71)
Proposal not considered due to lack of support. No budget impact for 2007.
1.3. CCR recommendations – new adjustment methodology for salaries and other elements of remuneration (e.g. allowances)
CCR is due to circulate later this year to the decision bodies of its coordinated organisations its recommendations on the new salary adjustment methodology (including some other elements of remuneration and reimbursement of expenses) for the period beginning on 1st January, 2007. While adapting them to the prevailing circumstances in the Council of Europe, CM will have to take care of eliminating any automatism and of elaborating an operational and in fact applicable “feasibility clause”. It will accordingly grant no monetary inflation compensation for the year 2007 without prejudging its attitude for the subsequent years. Estimated economy: € 2 mio.
See number 4
1.4. Contributions to the pension system
Actually Council of Europe agents are contributing to the pension system to the extent of one third, whereas the employer is discharging the other two thirds of the contributions. The proposal consists in equilibrating pension system contributions by equally distributing the social charges: every party is discharging one half of the contributions due.
See number 31
2. A question mark
In document CM(2006)49 the Secretary general several times refers to the procedure of liberating certain posts and certain functions in order to be redeployed qualifying it as “economies”. The Swiss delegation would be very interested in learning more about how such a redeployment of posts and functions is delivering the afore-mentioned economies and to what total they amount.
Redeployment of occupied posts is not an economy, but may constitute a non-increase. For example, the
8 new posts needed for operation of the new general building NBGEN (mainly for security and maintenance tasks) were made available by internal redeployments within DGAL, thus reducing the impact on the budget for bringing the new general building into service.
See also numbers 13, 62 and 83.
Proposal has been considered. The suppression of (net) 13 permanent posts has been proposed for 2007 including revised option 1
Draft Programme of Activities for 2007 (CM(2006)146 vol. II)
Since the Third Summit, held in Warsaw, the summit action plan, headed by the political declaration, has provided the reference framework for devising the annual Programmes of Activities of the Council of Europe.
In view of the budgetary conditions prevailing at the Council of Europe, and given the number and diversity of the activities listed in it, this programme can but be implemented gradually over a period of time or step by step.
For Switzerland the priority is contributing to the joint goal, acknowledged in the political declaration, of refocusing activities on the key aspects of the fundamental role of the Council of Europe - human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
It is therefore from this standpoint that Switzerland has evaluated the draft Programme of Activities for 2007, applying the following criteria:
- each proposed activity's relevance to the fundamental role of the Council of Europe;
- its added value and expected impact
- reappraisal of the subsidiarity principle. Here it can be pointed out that, through their very membership of the Council of Europe, the member states assume responsibility for honouring their obligations and commitments within their national jurisdictions, notably in the fields of the conventions they have ratified and the recommendations and other standard-setting instruments adopted by the Committee of Ministers. Switzerland is of the opinion that the subsidiarity principle has a significant corolllary, since it in no way rules out assistance activities aimed at aiding the states concerned, at their request, to implement their obligations and commitments as members of the Council of Europe.
In line with the "results based budgeting" approach, the Programme of Activities very often gives only a brief idea of the activities proper designed to enable achievement of the expected results, which are also all too often described in general, sometimes not unambiguous, terms.
In these circumstances assessment of the Programme of Activities, and in particular of the activities' relevance to the spheres of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, is often an extremely unrewarding, if not impossible, task.
108. For this reason, Switzerland, guided by its concern to contribute to the joint goal of refocusing the Organisation's activities on its fundamental role, proposes global reductions in appropriations for certain lines of activity.
As regards the social cohesion sector, Switzerland proposes a global 10% cut in funding, of approximately € 800 000. We will have more specific comments to make when the various lines of action are discussed.
Switzerland is convinced that, with its detailed knowledge of the various activities, the secretariat will be able to adjust the lines of activity concerned so as to focus on the Council of Europe's fundamental role, within the limits of the available funds.
Significant savings are already foreseen in Chapter IV in the draft PoA, which will decrease by 7.20%. There will be further reductions in Chapters IV as a consequence of the rejection by the CM of the proposal to stop or reduce the reimbursement of experts allowances - see Priorities for 2007 – Revised proposals by the Secretary General,( cf. CM(2006)49 Addendum). The additional reductions are - in activities and staff -€178 000 for DGIII.
See also number 13
There does not seem to be a consensus for further cuts. For strategic and managerial purposes, these cuts would preferably have to be sectoral sunsettings rather than linear cuts.
Proposal partially taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007
109. This is why, with a view to contributing to the joint effort to focus the Council's activities on its key areas of concern, Switzerland proposes the following overall reductions in appropriations.
In the case of the Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment sectors, it proposes an overall reduction of 10%, or about € 1.7 million. It will supply more detailed observations in the discussions on the various lines of action.
Switzerland is convinced that based on its detailed knowledge of the various activities, the secretariat will be able to adjust the lines of action concerned to the Council of Europe's core objectives, in accordance with the appropriations made.
Significant savings are already foreseen in Chapter V of the draft PoA. (-4.04% and additional reductions in staff and operational expenditures of € 241 600 for DG IV in revised option 1). There does not seem to be a consensus for further cuts.
See also numbers 13 and 108
Proposal partially taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007
1. Switzerland is firmly in favour of Option 2 presented by the Secretary General, with the corollary that the revised additional resources to be granted to the Court on the basis of 37 new posts are to be financed within the ceiling of the Ordinary Budget adjusted according to zero real growth. These additional resources of the Court represent a contribution to the refocusing of the Council of Europe’s activities on its core mission, which Switzerland earnestly desires.
2. In line with the Budget Committee’s proposals, the ceiling of the Ordinary Budget must be calculated on the basis of the total compulsory contributions paid by the member states in 2006:
Total compulsory contributions of the
member states for 2007 therefore come to € 194 332 100
The Swiss delegation would like to take this opportunity to point out that expenditure under the organisation’s other budgets, such as the Pension Reserve Fund and the Extraordinary Budget (new buildings) is determined totally independently of zero real growth. It is based either on earlier decisions by the Deputies or on an actuarial study.
In comparison with the Secretary General’s revised proposal, according to which the member states’ compulsory contributions total € 198 989 100 (GR-AB(2006)24, Appendix 1, p 10), there is a considerable difference to make up:
There does not seem to be a consensus on these proposals. See numbers 108 and 109.
Proposal subject to final decision on the budget 2007.
The Swiss delegation proposes making up this difference as follows:
· Reduction in staff expenditure, including
expenditure on outside consultants, of € 2 million
(CM(2006)vol 1, p 225)
(detailed proposals will be made
under the relevant agenda item)
See numbers 4, 33 and 87
· Reduction in the Subsidiary Budget for
(The efficiency gains mentioned by
the Secretary General in his priorities
for 2007 (CM(2006)49), which, unlike
last year, are not quantified)
Providing an interpretation service at meetings is a consequence of the language arrangements laid down in the Organisation's Statute.
Savings arising from the renegotiation of the employment conditions of interpreters on daily contracts have already been taken into account in the revised proposals in Secretary General document CM(2006)49 Addendum amounting to € 100 000 in 2007. Any other reductions would require changes in working methods and decreases in the number of meetings.
Significant savings have been made in recent years in translation. For example, two reviser posts and one position have been removed in 2007. The allocation from the ordinary budget to the translation budget has fallen from 2004 to 2007 (draft budget) by some € 688 000 in real terms.
Further savings in this area are under consideration and subject to final decision on the budget for 2007.
· The remainder by refocusing the
Programme of Activities more closely on
the Council of Europe’s core mission € 1.5 million 2 million
See numbers 13 and 80. There does not seem to be a consensus to further significantly reduce the PoA.
Proposal partially integrated in draft PoA and Budget. No further impact on Budget 2007, unless agreement on further PoA cuts
114. With regard to the 2007 Programme of Activities, the Swiss delegation would like to reiterate the Swiss approach as set out in the GR-SOC and the GR-C. Switzerland’s aim is to contribute to the joint effort to refocus the Council of Europe’s activities, in a targeted manner, on its core mission, namely the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. More specifically, it has proposed a margin for this purpose corresponding to 10% of the appropriations for the fields mentioned.
This refocusing will affect a whole series of activities which, to judge from the expected results and performance indicators, and based on criteria of relevance, added value and impact, are clearly non-priority. It is important to point out that the designation of such activities as non-priority is simply an indication of the degree of urgency to be assigned to them in the context of the implementation of the Warsaw Action Plan, a task which can only be carried out in stages.
Switzerland remains convinced that real savings are possible in the fields mentioned, among others, so that the Programme of Activities is not alone in bearing the consequences of the Council of Europe’s very difficult budgetary situation. On the contrary, it hopes that, as far as possible, the funds saved through a refocusing of activities will be reallocated to the Programme of Activities, preferably to activities appearing among those to be funded by voluntary contributions. The activities in question are assistance activities, which offer the best guarantees of success in terms of relevance, added value and impact.
See numbers 13, 80, 108 and 109.
The Proposals have been considered. Further reflection is needed. There is no further impact on the budget of 2007, unless additional savings in the Court budget and/or the PoA are envisaged.
I should like to bring to your attention a few comments by the Ukrainian delegation on the Programme of Activities for 2007 and on priorities for 2007.
115. In strategic terms, we believe that every activity included in the Council of Europe’s programme should connect with the Organisation’s fundamental concerns – human rights, democracy and the rule of law. For that reason, we heartily welcome the idea of setting criteria for projects.
See numbers 54 and 80.
116. At present, it would seem that the structure of the Programme of Activities for 2007 can best be improved by aligning it on the structure of the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit. This would make it easier to monitor implementation of the decisions taken in Warsaw.
The draft PoA follows exactly this suggestion
Proposal implemented. No further impact on budget 2007.
117. Concerning the various lines of action, we feel that a number of elements should be emphasised.
Ukraine considers that intensified co-operation, under present and future Council of Europe programmes, is one important way of ensuring continuity and irreversibility of its democratic development after the March 2006 elections. In this context, effective implementation and funding of the Action Plan for Ukraine, as an essential instrument, are vital for our country.
Implementation of the Action Plans depends largely on Voluntary Contributions. The Secretariat and the Chair of GR-DEM have underlined on several occasions the importance of consistency between the decisions on Action Plans and their financial support. The Secretariat is currently elaborating a new resource mobilisation strategy in order to enhance funding for priority programmes.
Proposal has been presented to CM. No impact on budget 2007.
118. Co-operation in promoting local and regional democracy should also be one of the priorities for 2007.
See number 65
119. We should like to see questions relating to gender equality better integrated in the programme for 2007. Above all, it would be useful to pinpoint key areas for appropriate action and provide adequate funding.
Gender aspects have been taken into account in several Chapters of the PoA, in particular in Chapter III (Programme on Gender equality for a functioning democracy). Further expansion of this aspect would require additional political support and funding. Otherwise, additional savings would need to be identified.
See also number 96.
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on budget 2007.
Migration should again be included in the programme for 2007, so that we can improve on past results. Ukraine has indicated its willingness to back expansion of this sector, management of which presents a major challenge for Europe in the twenty-first century, by hosting the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs in Kyiv in 2007.
Migration is currently considered by a number of member states as not being of direct relevance to the core values whereas others see it as added value of the CoE. The prevailing critical attitude was underscored by the general support by delegations to further reduce financing of this area in the revised option 1 proposal of the Secretary General,( cf. CM(2996)49 Addendum). See also numbers 13 and 108.
Proposal not taken into account due to lack of consensus.
121. One instrument for the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue – one of the Third Summit’s key messages – is the Kyiv Initiative. In view of the importance and scope of this new regional, multi-disciplinary project for democratic development and dialogue through culture in 2006-2009, we should like to repeat our proposal that it be adequately funded in 2007 and the years after that.
Intercultural dialogue in general: see number 65 d
Kyiv Initiative: the Initiative is included in the draft PoA (DG4/1142). The success of the initiative will also depend on the degree of financial support by means of voluntary contributions.
Proposal partially implemented. No further impact on budget 2007
122. It would also be useful to discuss preparation of the special programme for comprehensive solution of the integration problems of deportees or expellees who return to their historical homelands.
Provided there is support by other delegations, this proposal could be discussed in the framework of TC-PROG or GR-SOC in the course of the preparation of the programme for 2008.
Proposal for consideration during 2007. No impact on budget 2007
123. Ukraine would like the above comments and proposals to be considered when the Programme of Activities and priorities for 2007 are being decided.
The request has been considered and partially taken into account (see above).
124. The underlying principle which must be used for drawing up the 2007 budget and programme of activities is paragraph 1 of the Warsaw Declaration which states that “The Council of Europe shall pursue its core objective of preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. All its activities must contribute to this fundamental objective.” Guaranteeing the effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights is equally vital. In deciding on the resources for the Court our priority should be tackling the backlog and increasing efficiency.
See numbers 11, 13, 54, 80 and 94.
Proposals have been taken into account. No further quantifiable impact on the budget 2007.
125. The Programme of Activities is at the heart of the Council of Europe. The evaluation of the 2005 Programme of Activities, which we discussed earlier this year, gives us clear signals on how to shape next year’s programme. It highlights areas where progress has been show and where results were not achieved. It suggests that critical consideration be given to areas of activities where the relationship to the core business is tenuous eg in Line of Action 7 on promoting European cultural identity and diversity. We expect the Secretariat to take account of the evaluation report’s recommendations when drafting the 2007 programme of activities.
The Progress Review’s Recommendations have been taken into account as far as possible. (See also numbers 13, 80 and 94). Evaluation and prioritisation would be facilitated by the adoption of the criteria document (cf. CM(2006)101 prov.).
Proposals have been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007.
126. We all, Member States and Secretariat alike, have a role to play in finding savings. We have been considering cuts in travel and subsistence expenses for government experts. We call on the Secretariat to examine areas which could also provide further savings within the administration, as well as in the DGs where enabling activities are carried out, for example restructuring and streamlining DGs.
Travel and subsistence allowance: see number 75.
Substantial savings have already been made over the years by the Directorate General of Administration and Logistics. The 2007 budget for DGAL includes reductions (efficiency gains and decreases in the levels of service provision) of some € 1.2M, including the redeployment/suppression of 8 posts and 4 positions. In the last two years (2005 and 2006), the budget of DGAL has been reduced by € 1.1M in real terms. In addition, for the period 2003 – 2005, the DGAL has had to cope with an increase of 165 staff members in the Court (10% of the total staff of the Council) without any increase in its own human or financial resources.
Proposals have been taken into account. No further impact on the budget of 2007, unless delegations wish to reconsider the original proposal on non-reimbursements of experts allowances. (Potential additional savings in respect of expert allowances: € 1 253 000)
127. We are grateful for the efforts the Secretariat have already made in increasing efficiency and urge them to continue to look for ways to increase efficiency.
Further administrative savings have already been proposed in the course of the year.
Administrative savings have already been included in the draft budget for 2007.
128. When discussing the budget and programme of activities we cannot ignore the issue of reform. This goes hand in hand with the process and there are a number of strands which directly impact on our work. Key elements include: the proposed review of the intergovernmental committee structure and the proposed criteria for programmes. The Secretariat should ensure the sharing of best practice in terms of setting clear objectives, value for money targets and measurable outcomes. This should flow from greater internal co-operation and knowledge sharing.
These issues are being followed up in the context of Chapter V.
See numbers 32, 80 and 99.
Proposal has been taken into account. No further impact on the budget 2007.
129. Budgetary constraints in many member states are real and severe. Resources for the Council of Europe must be aimed at our core objectives and those activities which directly contribute to them. The Council of Europe can not continue to carry out all its current activities and support the Court. Many colleagues point to the action plan in its entirety and stress that all the priorities are priorities. This is understandable but not realistic. If we continue to spread the limited resources we have so thinly we risk undermining the whole programme of activities thus rendering them ineffective and unsustainable. We should be prepared to make tough decisions.
We therefore invite the Secretariat to prepare a budget on the basis of these key principles taking into account the discussions we have had and the comments made by delegations.
The Secretary General prepared the draft budget for 2007(option 1) on this basis.
See also numbers 13, 32, 80, 83, 94, 99, 101 and 103.
Proposals have been considered and partially taken into account in the light of discussions. No further quantifiable impact on the budget 2007.
France / UK
BUDGET 2007 UK PROPOSALS FOR SAVINGS
130. 100% reduction in subsistence for government experts.
See number 13 and 24
131. Further reductions to Chapters IV and V in the programme of activities in line with the Warsaw summit declaration. "The Council of Europe shall pursue its core objective of preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. All its activities must contribute to this fundamental objective".
See numbers 13, 108 and 109
The proposal has been partially taken into account. No further changes concerning the PoA budget for 2007 are recommended.
132. Reduction in the budget of the Directorate of Communication and Research as well as the stopping paying the visit of journalists
The budget for the Directorate of Communication needs to be increased if the Communication Strategy discussed at TC-INF is to be implemented.
Appropriations for inviting journalists are € 300 000. Most of this expenditure concerns invitations to journalists to attend sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly.
133. Reduction of the provision of € 437,500 for human resources policy.
Full implementation, of the new career development policy adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 8-9 November 2006 (979th meeting of the Deputies) would lead to a reduction in staffing expenditure of € 787 000 in 2007, which has been reflected in the staff appropriations under the different votes. However, while the costs of all beginning-of-career posts have been included in the budget at A1 and B1 level, some new members of staff will be recruited at a higher level (A2 and B2). It is therefore necessary to establish a reserve to finance such cases.
It is recommended that this provision is retained to enable the Organisation to continue to recruit the highest quality candidates.
134. Further reduction in the budget of the Directorate General of Administration and Logistics.
See number 126
In view of the substantial cuts made in recent years (see number 126), it is recommended that no further reductions are made beyond those already included in the 2007 draft budget.
135. 10% reduction in all Secretariat budgets for temporary staff.
Following the implementation of the new staffing policy notably the creation of specific positions, appropriations for short term temporary staff are small and concern principally staff recruited during meetings and sessions, such as the Parliamentary Assembly and Congress.
The Secretary General intends to apply a general policy of reallocating staff while continuing to respect the overall staff ratio.
No further action in 2007 budget is recommended.
136. Follow the Budget Committee proposal to apply a different inflation rate to different parts of the budget.
This subject will be on the Budget Committee's agenda in May 2007.
The Secretary General recommends that the Committee of Ministers review this question in the light of the recommendations of the Budget Committee.
137. Use of 1.7% inflation rate rather than the Eurozone inflation rate.
The rate of inflation in France for the reference period for the 2007 budget (March 2005-February 2006) reported by Eurostat is 2.0% - not 1.7%.
See also number 3 and Appendix to this document.
138. Setting of a salary ceiling and possible reduction in the provision for the salary adjustment.
See numbers 4 and 68
139. With regard to the Secretary General’s revised proposals on Chapter V (in doc. CM(2006)49 Addendum of 14/11/06), the Armenian Delegation proposes that the cut of 123 000 euros in the environmental field (85 600 euros in activities + 38 000 euros in staff costs) should be avoided. Instead, this delegation, which has always previously opposed reductions in the reimbursement of governmental experts’ subsistence expenses, is prepared, if no other solution can be found, to agree to a 10% reduction in experts’ daily allowances, which would result in an overall saving of 125 300 euros, and suggests that this amount be allocated instead to environmental activities.
An overwhelming majority of delegations supported the revised option 1 of the Secretary General. There does not seem to be sufficient support to reopen the package proposed.
There is no agreement on this proposal. No further impact on the budget 2007
Defining the items to be taken into account in order to determine zero real growth of the annual budget, particularly with regard to inflation, has caused severe problems in the course of discussions on the budget in the past.
In order to solve these problems once and for all, the (previous) Secretary General’s document on priorities for 2002 (CM(2001)57 corrigendum) contained the following:
" The document with priorities for 2001 was presented at 2000 prices. It was hoped at the time that the Ministers' Deputies would endorse later in the year a methodology, developed by GR-AB and the Budget Committee, for technically adjusting the budget of the Organisation from year to year on the basis of a number of elements, and that the resulting adjustment coefficient would be applied automatically to the basis at constant prices.
I supported this approach, which no doubt better reflects the evolution of the financial burden put on the Organisation than the mere application of the variation of prices index to the whole budget of the Organisation.
However, it proved impossible for the Committee of Ministers to agree on this new approach. This delayed beyond reasonable time limits the approval of the indicative figure on the basis of which the draft Ordinary Budget for 2001 should have been prepared. Furthermore, what should have been a technical procedure, led by the Budget Committee, became mixed up with the political decision-making process in the Committee of Ministers.
In order to avoid the repetition of last year's situation, I propose that, henceforth, the question of the variation of prices adjustment of the budget be dealt with already at the end of March/beginning of April when the Secretary General submits to the Committee of Ministers a document setting out the priorities of the Organisation for next year and their budgetary implications.
This will allow the Committee of Ministers to decide, by the end of May, on the priorities for the following year and on the indicative budgetary ceiling.
I propose that for 2002, and subsequent years, the price adjustment is made using the seasonally-adjusted EUROSTAT index (average of the monthly indexes during the last twelve months) for the EURO ZONE for the period ending in February of the year when the proposals are made. As the same method will be used every year, any positive or negative discrepancies between the actual and the estimated variation of prices in a given year will automatically be compensated in subsequent years."
After examining this document, the Deputies approved the Secretary General's budgetary proposals at their 758th meeting:
Since 2002, the Committee of Ministers has each year adopted a budget containing an adjustment in respect of the inflation rate determined, as described above "using the seasonally-adjusted EUROSTAT index (average of the monthly indexes during the last twelve months) for the EURO ZONE for the period ending in February of the year when the proposals are made". If the Committee of Ministers so wishes, the Secretary General will not object to the replacement of the euro zone rate by the equivalent rate for France also published by Eurostat. For the 2007 budget, this rate is 2 %, which would represent a reduction in the ordinary budget of € 406 100.
Provision for Salary Adjustments
The Secretary General’s document on the budget prospects for the coming year is prepared in March of each year.
In March the precise adjustment which will be recommended by the CCR is not yet known. For this reason, a provision for salary adjustment is included in the budget prospects document, calculated at the same rate as the general provision for inflation.
Therefore, for 2007, the Secretary General’s document on budget prospects included a provision to cover salary adjustments of 2.2%. The recommendations of the CCR were still unknown when the draft budget document itself was prepared during the summer. Therefore, this document also included a provision of 2.2% to cover salary adjustments. Subsequently, the CCR has proposed a revised method for salary adjustments, which would give rise to an adjustment of 3.1% as from 1 January 2007. The additional cost of such an adjustment, compared with the provision of 2.2% included in the draft ordinary budget for 2007, including the judges and the Human Rights Commissioner would amount to € 1 046 000.
Should the Committee of Ministers decide not to adopt the new method for salary adjustments as from 2007, but to prolong the existing method, this latter would give rise to a salary adjustment as from 1 January 2007 of 2.1%. This would represent a reduction of € 126 000 in the provision in the draft ordinary budget for 2007.
(in the order of frequency of issues raised)
Questions related to subject theme
Priorities / Core values
10, 11, 13, 16, 20, 41, 51, 54, 55, 56, 57, 62, 65, 67, 70, 79, 80, 94, 98, 101, 109, 113, 114, 115, 124, 125, 129, 131
Savings in general
7c, 7d, 8, 16, 28, 34, 35, 42, 46, 52, 57, 61, 63, 67, 74, 76, 77, 85, 86, 88, 89, 90, 91, 102, 112, 126, 127, 134
Salary adjustment, allowances, pensions scheme, staff
2a, 4, 6, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 31, 36, 44, 47, 52, 67, 68, 69, 83, 87, 100, 105, 106, 110, 111, 133, 135, 138
Rationalisation, reform (Chapter V of the Action Plan, Committees….)
16, 18, 19, 37, 43, 61, 75, 83, 91, 92, 94, 97, 99, 100, 107, 116, 128
PoA priorities (in general)
8, 53, 56, 62, 63, 65, 67, 70, 72, 80, 81, 109, 113, 114, 115, 116, 122, 123, 125
7a, 57, 72, 98, 109, 139
57, 72, 98, 109, 125
57, 72, 98, 103, 109
7a, 98, 103, 120
72, 103, 108
72, 95, 109
Experts / Consultants costs
24, 32, 33, 75, 87, 91, 100, 102, 126, 130, 139
Court of Human Rights
10, 11, 12, 25, 51, 55, 66, 78, 84
2b, 15, 57, 60, 64, 71, 95, 104
Rate of inflation
1, 3, 5, 6, 136, 137
45, 48, 49, 50
COE Information & Field Offices, Centres
16, 17, 82, 97
14, 38, 58
94, 96, 118
40, 110, 136
Internal audit, External audit
37, 39, 41
Staff Committee and Amicale
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 A precious source of inspiration can be found in document (CM(2005)37 – Council of Europe's (public) health and related activities: operationalisation of the strategic approach, p 5:
“List of criteria
- Is there a direct link between the core tasks of the Council of Europe and the activity?
- Is there a balance between the various activities within a priority area/programme line?
- If there are several priority areas/programme lines, is there a balance between the various themes?
- What is the expected achievement of the activity?
- Does the activity of the Council of Europe have added value as compared to national initiatives and the programme of activities of other institutions active in Europe (in particular EU, WHO)?
- Is the proposed activity the best way to achieve a specific goal, either in partnership with one or more institutions active in a European context, or otherwise?
- Does the proposed activity help meet the needs of the member states (added value)?
- Does the proposed activity reflect a balance between the different needs and interests of various member states?
- Is the activity likely to actually achieve the goal set?
Note - Will the activity be achieved in a cost–effective manner?”
Note 3 The steering committees meeting from June 2006 on could without delay proceed to such an argued analysis of their program of activities 2007 and report to CM through the intermediary of TC-PROG as soon as possible but not later than October 2006.