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CM(2009)195 final 25 March 2010
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Rules and procedures for the future elections of the Secretary General –
Joint interpretative statement

(Adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly at the Standing Committee on 12 March 2010
and by the Committee of Ministers on 24 March 2010)

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Having regard to the Statute of the Council of Europe, in particular Article 36.b;

Having regard to the Regulations relating to the appointment of the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and Secretary General of the Assembly having the rank of Deputy Secretary General which were adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 1956 with the agreement of the Assembly;

Having regard to the proposals for enhanced dialogue and co-operation between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers, as they appear in document CM(2009)142 and Appendix to Parliamentary Assembly Doc. 12028 Part II;

1. The Committee of Ministers and the Assembly agreed that the rules for future elections of the Secretary General need to be clarified in respect of the consultation process between the Assembly and the Committee of Ministers and that the gender aspects need to be strengthened.

2. In accordance with Article 36.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe, the election of the Secretary General is a shared responsibility. It is the responsibility of the Committee of Ministers to draw up a list of candidates to be transmitted to the Assembly. It is the responsibility of the Assembly to elect the Secretary General from the candidates included in that list.

3. The criteria for determining the choice of candidates is set out in Article 2 of the Regulations relating to the appointment of the Secretary General. These are:

“a. The recruitment of persons of the highest ability and integrity and suitability for the post to be filled.

b. The qualifications and experience of persons already employed by the Council of Europe shall be taken into consideration, so that members of the Secretariat may have reasonable prospects of promotion.

c. The desirability of ensuring an equitable geographical allocation of appointments among nationals of the Member States subject to the overriding interests of efficiency. No office in the Secretariat shall be considered to be the prerogative of any particular Member State.“

In this connection, the Committee of Ministers will interpret the criteria of “highest ability and suitability” in particular by reference to the decision taken at the 117th Ministerial Session (Strasbourg, 10-11 May 2007) whereby the Committee of Ministers agreed to present to the Parliamentary Assembly “candidates who enjoy a high level of recognition, are well-known among their peers and the people of Europe, and have previously served as Heads of State or Government, or held senior ministerial office or similar status relevant to the post”. When assessing candidates against these criteria, the Committee of Ministers will have a merit based approach and use the appended competence framework it has prepared to that effect (cf. Appendix 2).

4. With a view to strengthening gender aspects, both organs will, taking into account their different responsibilities in the election process, strive to make gender equality a reality, in line with the declaration adopted by the Committee of Ministers at its 119th session in Madrid in May 2009. The Chair of the Committee of Ministers, when calling for candidatures, will strongly encourage member states to put forward candidatures of both sexes. Furthermore and bearing in mind paragraph 3 above, when the Committee of Ministers draws up its recommendation to be transmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly, it will pay due regard to the desirability of ensuring an equitable gender balance of appointments.

5. In accordance with Article 4 of the Regulations relating to the appointment of the Secretary General, the Committee of Ministers shall consult the Assembly through the medium of the Joint Committee before transmitting the recommendation to the Assembly.

6. The Committee of Ministers shall seek the Assembly’s views before the Committee of Ministers draws up its recommendation. Therefore, consultation of the Assembly by the Committee of Ministers will take place at an early stage of the election procedure through the Joint Committee. It shall include a discussion on all the candidatures proposed by governments. The revised timeframe, which is part of this statement, to accommodate this early consultation, is set out in Appendix 1.

7. After the consultation of the Assembly within the Joint Committee, the Committee of Ministers will decide on the list of candidates to be included in the recommendation to the Assembly, in accordance with its own procedures. This may include voting when drawing-up the list of candidates. In this context, it is recalled that Article 20.d of the Statute of the Council of Europe applies to the adoption of the recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly in the absence of a consensus.

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Appendix 1: calendar for the election of the Secretary General

For a mandate beginning on 1 October of year n:

    · January n-1: after informal discussions between the President of PACE and the Chair of the CM, PACE confirms the date (June of year n) of the election in the Joint Committee;
    · February n-1: the CM fixes the timetable and calls for candidatures to be received before 15 December n-1. The Chair of the CM writes to his colleagues asking for suitable candidates and drawing attention to the “Juncker criteria” and to the gender aspects;
    · 15 December n-1: deadline for member states to propose candidates;
    · January n: consultation with PACE through the Joint Committee on all proposed candidates
    · February n: interviews of candidates by CM, drawing up of the recommendation and subsequent transmission to PACE;
    · Before June n: interviews by the Assembly of the candidates included in the recommendation;
    · June n: election by PACE;
    · 1 October n: start of the mandate of the new Secretary General.

If only one candidate appears in the Recommendation:

    · A discussion in the April n PACE part-session or during the March n Standing Committee to seek agreement in the Joint Committee on the submission of only one candidate in the CM recommendation;
    · If agreement is reached in the Joint Committee, subsequent transmission of recommendation;
    · June n: election by PACE;
    · 1 October n: start of the mandate of the new Secretary General.

If the CM considers that no candidates are suitable to appear in the recommendation or if no agreement is reached in the Joint Committee on the submission of only one candidature in the recommendation:

    · February/March n: prolongation of deadline for submission of candidates by 2 months;
    · May/June n: new consultation in Joint Committee on candidatures proposed by member states, either at the May n Standing Committee or the June n part-session;
    · June/July n: interview of candidatures by CM, drawing up of the recommendation and subsequent submission to PACE;
    · September n: election by PACE;
    · 1 October n: start of the mandate of the new Secretary General.

Appendix 2: Competence framework

The Secretary General is responsible to the Committee of Ministers for the work of the Secretariat and provides secretariat and other assistance to the Parliamentary Assembly. She/he represents the values of the Council of Europe to the outside at the highest levels and provides leadership to a culturally diverse Secretariat. The budgets of the Council of Europe amount to approximately € 300 million in 2010.

a) To assess the “suitability for the post” (Regulations):

- “high level of recognition”, “well-known among their peers”, “has previously served as Heads of State or government, or held senior ministerial office or similar status relevant to the post” (117th Session’s decisions):

- strong and effective relations with governments of member states; ability to work with the Committee of Ministers at all levels;

- demonstrated commitment to human rights, democracy, rule of law;

- very good knowledge of at least one of the official languages of the Council of Europe;

- at least a passive knowledge of the second official language, or a declared readiness to follow appropriate training during the first six months of the mandate.

b) To assess “highest ability” (Regulations):

- political vision and insight on international affairs; including the role of the Council of Europe; strategic thinking;

- leadership skills; trust-building; inspires and motivates a culturally diverse staff of 2,000 from 47 countries;

- skills to manage a large Organisation; delegates authority and empowers staff while remaining accountable; innovative thinking; promotes and accompanies change;

- pro-active planning ability and priority setting, both in his/her responsibility and in making proposals to the Committee of Ministers;

- delivers results, with efficiency and transparency;

- communication skills, both oral and written;

- negotiating skills; ability to tackle sensitive issues while promoting Council of Europe values;

- advocacy skills; proven ability to establish, maintain and use strong and effective networks; capacity to interact effectively with diverse interlocutors (political and cultural figures, officials, NGOs, media, etc); highly developed ability to explain and to persuade.

c) To assess “highest integrity” (Regulations)

- proven personal commitment to the ethical values of the Council of Europe;

- respect for diversity;

- openness to scrutiny.


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