Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2009)52 addendum 1 7 May 20091
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119th Session of the Committee of Ministers

(Madrid, 12 May 2009)

Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union –
Stocktaking of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union (1 January – 31 December 2008)

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Introduction

General remarks

At the 118th Session of the Committee of Ministers, the ministers “…asked their Deputies to prepare an overall assessment of the relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union…”. As last year, the preparation of the draft assessment report submitted to the GR-EXT in document GR-EXT(2009)3 was preceded by the drawing up of the present inventory document that takes stock of the co-operation in 2008. Thus the assessment was drawn up against a factual background.

Since its signature, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the main framework within which relations between the two organisations are developing. Thus, activities are reflected in this document following the structure of the MoU, instead of the organisational structures of the Council of Europe or the European Union. This stock-taking gives an overview of practical co-operation between the two organisations and shows the great variety and different nature of activities undertaken, ranging from high level political contacts, to expert level co-operation and the large number of Joint Programmes. In this context it should be noted that while respecting the same principles of reporting, this document is more voluminous than the stocktaking of 2007. This is due to the growing number of reported events.

The Directorate of External Relations has prepared this stocktaking on the basis of contributions from Major Administrative Entities as well as the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretariat of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. The European Commission was also consulted and contributed. The document covers the calendar year of 2008 and only exceptionally includes references, where appropriate, to forthcoming activities under preparation.

Technical remarks

The complex nature of activities made their classification under the MoU structure sometimes difficult, therefore some simplifications have been made:

    - this document has been organised according to the MoU paragraphs in boxes considered to be the most relevant to the activities of the Council of Europe. Nevertheless, many activities are relevant to more than one part of the MoU;

    - Joint Programmes are referred to under the appropriate heading of the MoU and not under each thematic heading. Nevertheless, it should be noted that in a number of fields (in particular, Youth, Intercultural dialogue and Cultural diversity), Joint Programmes constitute a substantial part of the activities;
    - similarly, activities carried out in the framework of Partial Agreements are listed under “Inter-institutional co-operation”;

- the activities included in this document cover the period 1 January – 31 December 2008.

Human rights and fundamental freedoms

16. The Council of Europe and the European Union will base their co-operation on the principles of indivisibility and universality of human rights, respect for the standards set out in this field by the fundamental texts of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, in particular the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the preservation of the cohesion of the human rights protection system in Europe.

17. The European Union regards the Council of Europe as the Europe-wide reference source for human rights. In this context, the relevant Council of Europe norms will be cited as a reference in European Union documents. The decisions and conclusions of its monitoring structures will be taken into account by the European Union institutions where relevant. The European Union will develop co-operation and consultations with the Commissioner for Human Rights with regard to human rights.

18. While preparing new initiatives in this field, the Council of Europe and the European Union institutions will draw on their respective expertise as appropriate through consultations.

Council of Europe human rights standards are increasingly reflected and referred to in draft legislation and reference to these standards are included in the European Union strategy papers and progress reports in the framework of European Union Enlargement Policy as well as in the implementation of European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans.

Please note that the annual consultation meetings in Strasburg on the candidates and potential candidates for European Union accession are referred to under points 30 – 31.

This reliance on Council of Europe standards was also made visible beyond the borders of Europe, through the developing practice of referring to Council of Europe human rights instruments in arrangements between the European Union and its non-European partners.

In particular, the Committee of Ministers welcomed the reference by the Vice-President of the European Commission to the increasing practice of consulting the Council of Europe before the publication of European Union legislative proposals in fields where there are established Council of Europe standards.

The practice of consultations has already been established in a number of areas where Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms constitute a prime source of information (e.g. CPT2) or where the Council of Europe can make other relevant contributions based on its standards (e.g. the revision of the Framework Decision of the Council of the European Union on Combating Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography).

A Joint European Union/Council of Europe Declaration establishing a ''European Day against the Death Penalty” was signed on 10 October. On this occasion, a panel discussion, sponsored by the Swedish Chairmanship of the Council of Europe and the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, took place.

The Council of Europe implemented a three-week programme of intensive human rights training for members of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia in November-December 2008.

A delegation of judges from the European Court of Human Rights paid a working visit to the European Court of Justice on 24 November, now an annual event. The one-day seminar covered the subjects of respect for the Convention by international organisations and recent case law on the rights of non-nationals.

Modalities of co-operation were discussed during the European Commission/Council of Europe Senior Officials Meeting (Brussels, 18 November) and the meetings between the Council of Europe and the Troika of the Article 36 Committee of the European Union (Brussels, 24 June and Strasbourg, 8 December).

In 2008, a practice was established whereby the European Commission provides its legislative work programme to the Council of Europe for consultation.

Please note that the activities of the Commissioner for Human Rights are indicated under point 47.

19. In the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms, coherence of Community and European Union law with the relevant conventions of the Council of Europe will be ensured. This does not prevent Community and European Union law from providing more extensive protection.

The Council of Europe Secretariat took part in a public hearing organised by the European Parliament on the topic “Towards a European Freedom of Information Act” on 2 June in Brussels and presented the draft Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents.

In order to ensure coherence between the revision of the European Convention on Transfrontier Television and the December 2007 audiovisual media services Directive, the European Commission participated as an observer in the meetings of the Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television (Strasbourg, 12-14 November) and its drafting Group (27-28 March, 19-20 June and 11-12 September) entrusted with the revision of the Convention. In return, the Council of Europe Secretariat participated in meetings of the Contact Committee on the “Television without Frontiers” Directive (Brussels, 19 February, 16 April and 18 June).

In 2008, the European Commission declared its interest in participating in a stocktaking exercise with regard to a possible Council of Europe Convention on the neighbouring rights of broadcasting organisations, if the Committee of Ministers gives a mandate to the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services to undertake such work (decision taken on 20 February). The European Commission took part in two stocktaking meetings on this subject (1 July and 17 September). The CDMC is ready to start the drafting work but has stressed that it will be important that the European Union mandates the Commission to negotiate such a convention.

In 2008, the Council of Europe continued to actively promote the introduction of the human rights provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism into the revised European Union Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism, as the amendment process had been conducted taking the aforesaid Council of Europe Convention into consideration.

20. Early accession of the European Union to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms would contribute greatly to coherence in the field of human rights in Europe.
The Council of Europe and the European Union will examine this further.

During his speech to the Committee of Ministers (Strasbourg, 19 November), the Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security recalled that accession by the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights is only possible after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by all European Union member states.

21. Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union will include the protection of persons belonging to national minorities, the fight against discrimination, racism, xenophobia and intolerance, the fight against torture and ill treatment, the fight against trafficking in human beings, the protection of the rights of the child, the promotion of human rights education and freedom of expression and information.

The 2008 Conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights on “Employment, training and equal opportunities” include numerous references to the reports of the European Union Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights where non-discrimination issues are involved.

The European Commission participated in the 17th Meeting of the Group of Specialists on Access to Official Documents, Strasbourg, 12-15 February.

The European Commission was represented at the 7th and 8th meetings of the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC), Vienna, 10-13 June and Strasbourg, 25-28 November. It also took part in various meetings of subordinate bodies of the CDMC (such as the Group of Specialists on public service media in the information society and the Group of Specialists on Media Diversity).

The Council of Europe and the European Commission in partnership with the Albanian Parliament are continuing to implement a joint Action Plan aimed at reforming the Albanian broadcasting legislation. On 28 April 2008, the European Commission in co-operation with the Council of Europe and OSCE organised a Workshop on the Independence of Media and Telecoms Regulatory Authorities in Sarajevo.

The Council of Europe participated in the meeting ''The Audiovisual Media Services Directive in the context of digitalisation: A new Era for Europe's audiovisual media Regulation'', Istanbul, 1-2 December which gathered the main stakeholders in the media sector in the South-East European countries and Turkey. This seminar followed on from an earlier joint initiative of the European Commission and the Council of Europe to support broadcasting policy reform in South East Europe which focused on several aspects of European audiovisual policy.

Meetings were held between representatives of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and representatives of the European Commission (DG Enlargement and Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities) in Brussels on 10-11 September to discuss possible subjects of co-operation.

In the context of its 33rd plenary meeting, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention held an exchange of views with the Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in Strasbourg on 9 October. Various subjects for possible co-operation were discussed, including data collection, the situation of national minorities within the European Union and potential areas for focused studies emerging from the country by country monitoring work of the Advisory Committee.

The Council of Europe took part in the 2nd and 3rd European Union Forum on the Rights of the Child (Brussels, 4 March and 9 December) and in the meetings of the Steering Group of the Forum (Brussels, 16 April and 9 October). The Coordinator of the Programme “Building a Europe for and with children” also participated in the meeting of 4 March.

The European Commission participated in the Council of Europe initiative against corporal punishment of children - International launching event, Croatia, 14-15 June.

The European Commission took part in the 1st and 2nd meetings of the Editorial Group in charge of drafting future Council of Europe policy guidelines on integrated national strategies to prevent all forms of violence against children (Strasbourg, 23-24 June and 27-28 October).

A representative of the Commission participated in the Steering Committee of the Social Security co-ordination and Social Security Reforms Joint Programme in Zagreb and Belgrade in June and December 2008 respectively.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe took part in the European Commission-led Safer Internet Day Blogathon on 12 February.

European Commission Safer Internet Day partners regularly refer to Council of Europe work on media/information literacy in events throughout Europe, in particular referring to the Council of Europe online game for children “Through the Wild Web Woods” and to the Handbook on Internet Literacy.

The European Parliament and European Commission took part in the Pan-European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) hosted by the Council of Europe on 20 and 21 October. This led to dialogue about working together more closely in events on the occasion of the UN-led Internet Governance Forum (Hyderabad, India, 3 to 6 December).

The Council of Europe took part in the European Parliament workshop on “2008 Internet Governance Forum: A European Perspective”, held at the European Parliament on 20 November.

The Council of Europe participated in the European Union Black Sea Synergy Seminar on Freedom of Expression, organised by the European Commission in Chisinau on 19-20 May.

The European Commission took part in a Council of Europe Conference on anti-terrorism legislation in Europe and its impact on freedom of expression and information (Amsterdam, 17-18 November).

The Council of Europe attended a meeting organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 7 October in order to contribute to their brainstorming on how to revise the European Union legal framework on trafficking in human beings.

The Deputy Secretary General addressed a Hearing on Human Trafficking: “Who is fighting trafficking - who is not?”, European Parliament, Brussels, 8 October.

A number of activities in field of human rights and fundamental freedoms fit within the context of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see under ‘Joint Programmes’.

22. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights strengthens the European Union's efforts to ensure respect for fundamental rights within the framework of the European Union and Community law. It respects the unity, validity and effectiveness of the instruments used by the Council of Europe to monitor the protection of human rights in its member states. The concrete co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Agency will be the subject of a bilateral co-operation agreement between the Council of Europe and the Community.

Negotiations with the European Commission on the European Commission/Council of Europe Agreement on co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) were successfully concluded. The Agreement entered into force on 18 June.

The Council of Europe Secretariat was invited to comment on the FRA’s working programmes for 2008 and 2009 and the comments have been taken into account.

An independent person, appointed by the Council of Europe, as well as representatives of the Secretariat, regularly participated in meetings of the FRA Management Board. They also participated in first discussions about FRA’s future strategy during a retreat in October. The independent person participated in the meetings of the Executive Board.

Contact persons were appointed by the Council of Europe Secretary General and the FRA Director to deal with matters relating to co-operation with the FRA.

On 18 and 19 June, the Council of Europe hosted the first visit of a delegation from the FRA, which included the Chairperson of the Management Board and the Director of the Agency. It provided a perfect opportunity for members of the FRA to make contact with various departments and bodies of the Council of Europe and led to the identification of themes and modalities for future co-operation. On this occasion, the Director and Chairperson of the Management Board also addressed the Committee of Ministers’ Rapporteur Group on External Relations (GR-EXT).

The Council of Europe Secretariat was invited to comment on FRA’s annual report on the situation regarding racism and xenophobia in the member states of the European Union.

The Director General of DG-HL represented the Secretary General on the pre-selection panel entrusted with examining the eligibility of candidates for the FRA’s Scientific Committee in February.

The Council of Europe was represented at the FRA European Round Table Conference, St Julians (Malta), 9-11 June.

On 19 June, a delegation from the FRA met members of the Council of Europe Secretariat to discuss possible future co-operation.

FRA participated in the Council of Europe seminar on "Media and cultural diversity" held in the framework of the Council of Europe Anti-discrimination Campaign in Lisbon in June. On its part, the Council of Europe took part in the training seminar on the "Diversity Toolkit" organised jointly by the European Broadcasting Union and FRA in Geneva in September.

The Council of Europe participated in a FRA meeting on data protection issues (Vienna, 5 September) which made possible a fruitful exchange of information and determining the scope of the future activities of the Fundamental Rights Agency in the field of privacy and personal data protection.

In November, the Head of Department of School and Out-of-School Education met with the Director of the FRA in Vienna to identify areas of co-operation and to share relevant materials.

The Council of Europe took part in the Fundamental Rights Conference "Freedom of Expression, a cornerstone of democracy - Listening and communicating in a diverse Europe", 8-9 December, Paris, organised by FRA and the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Rule of law, legal co-operation and addressing new challenges

23. The Council of Europe and the European Union will endeavour to establish common standards thus promoting a Europe without dividing lines, without prejudice to their autonomy of decision.

24. Bearing this in mind, legal co-operation should be further developed between the Council of Europe and the European Union with a view to ensuring coherence between Community and European Union law and the standards of Council of Europe conventions. This does not prevent Community and European Union law from adopting more far-reaching rules.

Indicators of progress in this field include in particular : (i) the initiative of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union for Council conclusions, encouraging the European Union member states to ratify relevant Council of Europe conventions in the criminal justice field to reinforce the coherence between Council of Europe standards and the European Union acquis; (ii) the revision of the European Union Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism in accordance with the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism (CETS No. 196); and (iii) the draft Council decision to sign on behalf of the European Community the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No. 198).

A meeting with counterparts from the European Commission was organised in Brussels in January to exchange information and to present the activities of the Council of Europe in the field of family law, adoption, vulnerable adults, child-friendly justice, nationality and victims of terrorism. Regular contacts have been maintained with the Civil Justice Unit of the Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission throughout the year.

The European Commission set up a Forum for discussing European Union justice policies and practice. In its February 2008 communication on this subject, it referred to Council of Europe evaluation mechanisms and, in particular, to the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ). The European Commission also undertook to be consistent with Council of Europe’s activities in this area and contribute, through the Forum, to evaluate and improve the quality of justice and reinforce mutual confidence in the judicial systems in Europe. The Council of Europe, through the CEPEJ, is invited to participate in each meeting of the Justice Forum.

In the context of the European Day of Civil Justice, declared jointly by the European Commission and the Council of Europe (CEPEJ), which is celebrated every year around the date of 25 October, aiming at raising awareness amongst the citizens about their rights related to civil justice issues, the two organisations created in 2005 a European prize for innovative practice in civil justice organisation and procedure: the Crystal Scales of Justice.

The third edition has been organised in 2008 and 38 applications from 15 countries were received. The prize has been awarded on the 24th October, in the framework of the European Civil Justice Day, by a panel of judges made up of European legal practitioners in the city of Catania.

The Secretariat of the Council of Europe attended the 6th meeting of the members of the European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial matters on 14 and 15 January, that was created by a decision of the Council of the European Union and is managed by the European Commission.

The European Commission, which has observer status with several committees placed under the authority of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), regularly attended the meetings, in particular, of the Working Parties on incapable adults and on missing persons of the Committee of experts on family law (CJ-FA), of the Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes (T-AP) and of the Consultative Committee of the convention for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data (T-PD) and/or of its Bureau.

On data protection, the European Commission follows, on a regular basis, the work of the consultative committee of the Convention 108 on automatic processing of personal data. In that context, it actively contributes to the drafting of the Recommendation on profiling of individuals, and to the work on the World Anti-Doping Agency Privacy Standards.

Moreover, in the field of family law, the Council of Europe was invited to contribute to the conference on “International protection of vulnerable adults” organised by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission in Lille on 16 and 17 September.

In addition, the European Union was represented at several events organised by the Council of Europe in the field of family law and access to justice. In particular, the European Commission participated in the European Conference on “Medical Liability in Europe: an ever-growing challenge” (Strasbourg, 2-3 June), in the European Colloquy on “Family Mediation: an asset to be supported in Europe” organised by the Council of Europe and the French NGO RESCIF3 (Strasbourg, 26-27 June) and in the seminar on child-friendly justice (Stockholm, 8 September) which was organised by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Swedish Ministry of Justice.

A meeting with counterparts from the European Commission and the European Union Council Secretariat was organised in Brussels on 29 February to exchange information and to present the activities of the Council of Europe in the field of rule of law, including organised crime and human rights in Kosovo4.

The Council of Europe participated in the European Commission Working Group meeting on Statistics on crime and criminal justice (Luxembourg, 7-8 February).

The Council of Europe participated in the CEPOL5 conference held in Bled (Slovenia) on 18-19 March.

The European Commission participated in the 54th and 55th meetings of the Committee on the Operation of European Conventions in the Penal Field (PC-OC), Strasbourg, 28-30 April and 4-7 November.

The Council of Europe provided assistance to the European Commission in setting conditions and benchmarks for the budget support exercise for the judiciary, Strasbourg, 22 September-31 December.

The European Commission participated in meetings of the T-DO6 Advisory Group on Legal Issues (Strasbourg, 20 February and 16 April; Paris, 30 June).

The European Commission was represented at the 27th and 28th meetings of the T-DO Monitoring Group, Strasbourg, 6 May and 12-13 November.

The European Commission contributed to the publication of the report on the implementation of the Bern Convention in Bulgaria, from 1 March until 30 September.

The European Commission contributed to the publication of the new European Strategy on Plant Conservation, from 1 February until 30 June.

The European Commission and the Council of the European Union contributed to the 35th and 36th meetings of the Council of Europe Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI), respectively in Strasbourg on 6-7 March and London on 7-8 October.

Moreover, the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the European Court of First Instance and the Civil Service Tribunal of the European Union contributed to the Council of Europe Conference “International Courts and Tribunals – The Challenges Ahead”, London, 6-7 October.

The European Court of Human Rights was represented by a senior Registry official at the launching of the Justice Forum in May.

The launch of the 2008 European Union exchange programme for judicial authorities took place in Strasbourg at the European Court of Human Rights in February. This highlighted the inclusion in the exchange programme of internships at the European Court of Human Rights. In November, the President and Registrar of the Court reviewed the initial stages of the programme with the Commissioner responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security.

25. To this end and to the extent necessary the Council of Europe and the European Union will consult each other at an early stage in the process of elaborating standards.

As a general point, more systematic co-operation will be facilitated by the yearly legislative work programmes of the European Commission, which, as of 2009, will be transmitted for information to the Council of Europe. This will enable the Council of Europe to plan and anticipate its contributions on an annual basis. See also relevant paragraphs under points 16-18.

At the request of the European Union Presidency in March, the Council of Europe Secretariat prepared observations on the proposal for a European Union Council Framework Decision on the enforcement of judgments ‘in absentia’ with a view to ensuring consistency and coherence with the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe standards.

The European Commission has observer status with and takes part in meetings of various Council of Europe standard setting bodies (Steering Committees), in particular the Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services (CDMC). This, which also applies to the work of the Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television, provides for easy consultation procedures and avenues for the European Union to make its views known.

The Council of the European Union referred to, and underlined the importance of the Council of Europe Recommendation on empowering children in the new information and communications environment, in its conclusions on the European approach to media literacy in the digital environment (2868th Education, Youth and Culture Council meeting, Brussels, 21 May).

The Department of the European Social Charter was consulted by the Rapporteur of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) before finalising a draft opinion the EESC had to adopt on 14 January 2009 on the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), document EESC 1840/2008. The Department of the Social Charter submitted comments, through the Council of Europe office in Brussels, with respect to the part of the document on social dialogue, support for social partners and strengthening the role of civil society in consultation processes.

The Executive Secretary of the European Committee of Social Rights was invited by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union to the 17th European Union Housing Ministers’ meeting (24 November 2008) on the theme of “access to housing for persons with difficulties” to present the European Committee of Social rights case law on the right to housing.

In 2008, the Council of Europe welcomed and positively responded to the request of contribution for the Fundamental Rights Agency’s mapping exercise. Proposals were made in relation to existing Council of Europe activities concerning subject-matters on which the FRA should work, the type of activities it should undertake (e.g. data collection, research, development of indicators) and the expected outcome of its work. Indications were also made to avoid duplication of work.

Moreover, the Council of Europe was invited to an informal consultative meeting on the revision of the Council Framework Decision (2004/68/JHA) on combating sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (of 22 December 2003), on 6 October at the European Commission in Brussels.

An extensive exchange of views was held with the European Union/European Community and its member states for the preparation of the report on the consequences of the so-called "disconnection clause" in international law in general and for Council of Europe conventions, containing such a clause, in particular. This report was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) at its 36th meeting (London, 6-7 October).

26. The Council of Europe and the European Union will continue to strive to develop appropriate forms of co-operation in response to the challenges facing European society, and to enhance the security of individuals, particularly as regards combating terrorism, organised crime, corruption, money laundering and other modern challenges, including those arising from the development of new technologies.

The European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union closely follow all reports of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) and actively participated in the following MONEYVAL activities:

    - 26th Plenary Meeting, Strasbourg, 31 March-4 April;
    - 27th Plenary Meeting, Strasbourg, 7-11 July;
    - 28th Plenary Meeting, Strasbourg, 8-12 December.

MONEYVAL evaluations specifically cover Directive 2005/60/EC (the 3rd Money laundering Directive) and its implementing Directive. A representative of the European Commission participated in 2008, in his personal capacity, in the MONEYVAL Expert Review Group which considers each report in advance of plenary discussions. At its Training Seminar for evaluators (1-3 October), a specific module was presented dealing with 3rd Directive issues.

The European Commission also participated in the Joint MONEYVAL-FATF Typologies meeting, Monte Carlo, 24-26 November 2008.

The Executive Secretary of MONEYVAL participated in the work of the European Commission Expert Sub-Group on the policy needs of data on money laundering.

The European Commission participated in the 3rd, 4th and 5th meetings of the Group of Specialists on Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products (PC-S-CP) on 5-7 March, 1-3 October and 10-12 December.

The Council of Europe contributed actively to the European Union project on ''Developing standards for assistance to victims of terrorism'' and participated in the closing conference of the project on 10-11 March.

The Council of Europe was represented in the following events related to terrorism:

    - EUROMED7 Workshop on the Mechanisms of International Co-operation in the Fight against Terrorism, Rabat, 5-6 May; 
    - European Judicial Training Network Meeting on Witness Protection, Barcelona, 4-6 June;
    - EUROMED Workshop on the Mechanisms of International Co-operation in the Fight against Terrorism, The Hague, 17-18 June;
    - Eurojust Strategic Meeting on Terrorism, the Hague, 18 June;
    - Academy of European Law (ERA) Seminar “Evaluating counter-terrorism legislation and jurisprudence in the area of European criminal justice”, Trier, 5-7 November;
    - CEPS8 6th Training School of CHALLENGE (“The Changing Landscape of European Liberty and Security”), Brussels, 6 November.

The European Commission and the Council of the European Union participated in the 14th and 15th meetings of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER), which were held respectively on 7-9 April and 24-26 November.

The European Commission participated in the Octopus Interface Conference ''Cooperation against cybercrime'', Strasbourg, 1-2 April, and the 3rd Multilateral Consultation of the Parties to the Cybercrime Convention (T-CY), 3-4 April.

The Annex (regarding public-private co-operation against cyber crime) of the Council Conclusions on a Concerted Work Strategy and Practical Measures Against Cybercrime of November 2008 were based on good co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe in the area.

The European Commission finances a programme for the development of data protection within the framework of the civil registry system of Albania (March 2007 – September 2008) which is being implemented by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the OSCE.

In the environmental field, the European Commission was represented at the following events:

    - side-event on ''Implementing in Europe the CBD9 guidelines on Invasive Alien Species'' and meeting of a select group of experts on ''progress of European Invasive Alien Species work and strategic priorities’’, at 13th meeting of the CBD's Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice, Rome, 18 February;
    - Bern Convention's Group of Experts on Biodiversity and Climate Change, Seville, 13-15 March;
    - side-event on the Bern Convention during the 9th Conference of the Parties of the Convention, Bonn, 23 May;
    - on-the-spot appraisal to Ukraine concerning a canal project on the Danube delta (Bystroe estuary), several locations in Ukraine, 29-30 July;
    - Group of Experts on Climate Change and Biological Diversity, Strasbourg, 11-12 September;
    - Bern Convention Group of Experts on Conservation of biodiversity in European Islands, at the Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 6-9 October, Barcelona;
    - 1st meeting of the CBD Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Biodiversity and Climate change, London, 17-19 November;
    - 28th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention, Strasbourg, 24-27 November.

The Council of Europe participated in the following activities in the environmental field:

    - European Conference on Invasive Alien Species, Madrid, 15-16 January;
    - Daisie Conference on Biological invasions in Europe and the DAISIE initiative, Portoroz, 23 January;
    - 13th meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-13), Rome, 20-22 February;
    - “Development of an European Union Framework on Invasive Alien Species'', Brussels, 20 June;
    - 2nd Meeting of the Co-ordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature of the European Commission, Brussels, 27 June;
    - “The European Union and its Overseas Entities - Strategies to counter climate change and Biodiversity Loss” Conference, La Réunion, 7-11 July;
    - Third meeting of Ad Hoc Working Group on Wind Energy and Nature Conservation of the European Commission, Brussels, 10 July.

A contract between the European Commission and the Council of Europe was signed at the end of December, for a project to promote the protection of biodiversity by laying the scientific basis for the extension of the Emerald network of protected sites in Eastern Europe. This project, financed from the ENRTP 2008 budget, will go on for 36 months, and cover seven countries in Eastern Europe.

With regard to bioethics, close co-operation between the Council of Europe and European Union has developed. In addition to the mutual participation in steering committees, experts groups and conferences, consultations on specific aspects of bioethics happen regularly. For example, the work of the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI) for the elaboration of the new Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine concerning Genetic Testing for Health Purposes raised great interest from different European Union funded projects in this field. The Secretariat has also been invited by the Commission to participate in the meetings of an expert group responsible for the elaboration of recommendations on ethical, legal and social aspects of genetic testing.

The European Commission participated in the 34th and 35th plenary meetings of the Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI), Strasbourg, 4-6 June and 2-5 December.

The European Commission was represented at the meetings of the working group responsible for the elaboration of a guide for research ethics committee members of the Steering Committee on Bioethics, Paris, 1 July and Strasbourg, 9-10 April and 4-6 November.

A number of activities in field of the rule of law, legal co-operation and addressing new challenges, fit within the context of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see under ‘Joint Programmes’.

In addition, it should be noted that a number of activities also falling within the context of the rule of law, legal co-operation and addressing new challenges are to be found under ‘Inter-institutional co-operation’.

Democracy and good governance

27. The Council of Europe and the European Union will draw on each other’s expertise and activities to promote and strengthen democracy and good governance, and to foster gender equality as well as greater participation of women in the decision-making process in public life.

In the framework of the Council of Europe Ad Hoc Committee on e-Democracy (CAHDE), the European Commission participated in the following meetings:

    - 5th meeting of the Informal Working Group (IWG) of CAHDE, London, 26-27 February;
    - 3rd Plenary Meeting of CAHDE, Strasbourg, 21-22 May.

The Council of Europe Secretariat was represented, and made a presentation, at the annual EU High Level Meeting on Governance hosted in Biarritz on 15-16 September by the French Ministry of the Interior.

The European Commission is closely associated with the Network of Schools of Political Studies (see under “Joint Programmes”). The European Commission took part in the Steering Board meeting (Strasbourg, 3 July). The European Commissioner for Consumer Protection took part in the opening session of the 3rd Summer University for Democracy (Strasbourg, 30 June). In addition, European Commission delegations took part in national seminars organised by each School.

28. They will make full use of the Venice Commission’s expertise. They will co-operate through the Forum for the Future of Democracy in order to promote democracy, citizen’s participation, democratic development and good governance. They will consider the application of new technologies in this context.

The European Commission and the Venice Commission concluded an Exchange of Letters on enhanced co-operation on 13 June.

The Venice Commission closely co-operates with the European Commission with respect to South-East Europe and Central Asia. It actively participated in the European Union-Central Asia Ministerial Conference on the Rule of Law in Brussels on 27-28 November 2008.

The Venice Commission co-operates closely with the European Union Special Representative for the Republic of Moldova10 and with the European Union Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It coordinates efforts with the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus, who addressed the Commission at its 78th Plenary Session on 13 to 14 March 2009. Close co-operation is maintained with the Council of the European Union, in particular with respect to the constitutional situation in Ukraine.

The European Commission is invited to the meetings of the Advisory Board of the Forum for the Future of Democracy and two representatives of the European Commission took part in the 4th session of the Forum, devoted to e-democracy (Madrid, 15-17 October).

The European Commission, represented by its Legal Service, participates in plenary meetings of the Venice Commission. In addition, Ms Véronique Arnault, Director of Multilateral Relations and Human Rights, DG Relex, addressed the Venice Commission at its 78th Plenary Session on 13 to 14 March. The Venice Commission regularly invites the European Commission to attend as an observer the meetings of the Council for Democratic Elections (a joint body of the Venice Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe dealing with electoral matters) and consults the European Commission before the adoption of opinions and comparative studies (including those setting standards) in the electoral field.

29. They will explore ways of working more closely in the field of regional and transfrontier co-operation. They will endeavour to promote local democracy in view of the contribution which it can make to the achievement of their shared objectives. They should make good use of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Committee of Regions of the European Union, as well as the Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform.

Within the framework of the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy, the European Commission participated in the following meetings:

    - Committee of Experts on Governance and Resources (LR-GR), Strasbourg, 21-22 April;
    - European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR), Strasbourg, 2-4 June.

See under “Joint Programmes” and “inter-institutional co-operation”.

A number of activities in democracy and good governance fit within the context of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see under “Joint Programmes”.

Please note that the activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe are indicated under point 49.

Democratic stability

30. Bearing in mind the common aim of promoting and strengthening democratic stability in Europe, the Council of Europe and the European Union will increase their common efforts towards enhanced pan-European relations, including further co-operation in the countries participating in the European Union's Neighbourhood Policy or the Enlargement process, with due regard to the specific competences of both institutions and in conformity with Council of Europe member states’ observance of their obligations and commitments.

31. This co-operation, in order to promote democracy and citizens’ participation, will also include states aspiring for membership of the Council of Europe.

Throughout the period under review, regular and close consultations have taken place with both the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union on politically relevant questions or whenever a specific matter or common interest justified an exchange of views. Furthermore, a number of meetings, involving mainly the competent European Commission Directorates General, have been organised as follows:

    - annual consultation meetings in Strasbourg with the Enlargement DG on the candidate and potential candidate countries for European Union accession with a view to providing Council of Europe input to the Commission's progress reports on each country concerned (9-10 June), followed by a consultation meeting in Brussels on perspectives for common work in those countries (23 October). All relevant bodies and departments of the Council or Europe were involved in these consultations;
    - organisation of the regular consultation meetings in Strasbourg on European Neighbourhood Policy countries, with a view to providing Council of Europe input to the Commission's progress review on these countries (13 February and 15-16 December);
    - visits of the Director of Political Advice and Co-operation of the Council of Europe for consultations on topics of mutual interest.

The Council of Europe/European Commission Senior Officials Meeting (Brussels, 18 November) also provided an occasion for an exchange of view on these countries.

Ad hoc consultation meetings on regions of common interest are regularly held between the Directorate General of Democracy and Political Affairs and the relevant Commission’s Directorates, in order to ensure a regular and up-dated exchange of information on key priorities and on a shared assessment of current developments having an impact on the work of the two institutions.

32. To reinforce co-operation in the areas mentioned in this chapter, they will have regular exchanges of views and will develop, where appropriate, mutually supportive and reinforcing activities as well as joint programmes as set out in paragraph 52 below.

Contacts and consultations with the European Union in the field are very close and regular. Special Representatives of the Secretary General (SRSGs) participate fully in the international co-ordination mechanisms in the field. Furthermore, Council of Europe monitoring missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as stocktaking missions in Moldova and the "Ago Group" (Armenia and Azerbaijan) have regular exchanges with representatives of partner organisations in the field.

Intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity

33. The Council of Europe and the European Union will co-operate in order to develop intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity with a view to promoting respect for human rights and mutual understanding among cultures in Europe. This dialogue is an important element in the fight against all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia.

The Council of Europe White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue was officially launched at the 118th Ministerial Session of the Committee of Ministers. The White Paper, an original Council of Europe contribution to the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, provides various guidelines for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, mutual respect and understanding, based on the core values of the Organisation.

The Council of Europe’s Coordinator for Intercultural Dialogue participated in the launching and closing events of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in Ljubljana in January and in Paris in November, as well as in the Conference “Diversity Connects – Intercultural Dialogue 2008” in Bratislava on 31 March on the occasion of the launching of the Year.

A new initiative of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was the “Council of Europe 2008 exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue”, which took place, on an experimental basis, in Strasbourg on 8 April and dealt with “Teaching religious and convictional facts. A tool for acquiring knowledge about religions and belief in education; a contribution to education for democratic citizenship, human rights and intercultural dialogue”. The initiative was a major Council of Europe contribution to the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The European Commission was represented in the preparatory meetings of the “2008 Exchange” in the TC-ID11.

The Council of Europe and the European Commission jointly participated in the international conference “Education for intercultural dialogue” (the Slovenian national project of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue) in Nova Gorica, 8-9 May.

A two-year joint programme “Intercultural Cities – governance and policies for diverse communities” was launched in January. This innovative programme involves twelve pilot cities in the development of intercultural strategies across a range of policy domains: education, housing, urbanism, culture, health, etc. in order to encourage ethnic interaction and the development of an inclusive city identity.

At an Intergroup meeting at the European Parliament in January, the Council of Europe Secretariat presented the Charter on Regional or Minority Languages on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Charter, and a summary of the most recent Committee of Experts’ reports.

The European Heritage Days are a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The two institutions have revitalised and reoriented the programme in the last year to give more visibility to it at European level. On 23-24 October, the first European Heritage Forum on “Heritage and dialogue” was organised in Brussels by the Council of Europe, the Belgian regions and the King Baudouin Foundation, on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the European Heritage Days in Belgium and as a contribution to the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The representatives of the Commission played key roles in both the press conference and the Forum.

An information meeting was organised with the European Commission about the Council of Europe tools for monitoring, follow-up and good practice exchange, within the sectors of culture and heritage, Brussels, 5 September.

The European Commission participated in the 7th CDCULT12 Plenary Session, Strasbourg, 5-6 May. A representative of the European Commission also took part in the 7th Meeting of the Council of Europe Workshops for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention.

The Council of Europe and the European Commission were associated with the ''Routes'' Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation), Brussels, 9 December.

The Council of Europe and the European Commission discussed co-operation in the framework of the Cross-Border Cinema Culture Pilot Project of the Kyiv Initiative, Brussels, 14 April.

The European Commission and Council of Europe intensified their relations in the field of cultural heritage in Kosovo. As a consequence, as of 2008 and during the next years some joint projects will draw on the experience acquired and the results achieved. The scope of joint activities will be enlarged to all types of heritage, not only orthodox and not only religious.

The Joint Council of Europe – European Commission action in the field of preservation of heritage in South East Europe was presented at the International conference “New Paradigms, New Models – Culture in the European Union’s External Relations”, Ljubljana, 13-14 April. This joint initiative called “Ljubljana Process – Funding heritage rehabilitation in South East Europe”, aimed at ensuring funding for a significant number of cultural heritage projects in South East Europe and fosters the adoption of sustainable funding strategies for them.

At the “Scoreboard meeting” of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, held in Brussels on 17 November, the latter announced the signature with the Council of Europe of the 6th Covenant for the continuation of the “Ljubljana process” until the end of 2010. Moreover, the EC presented a future joint action in favour of cultural heritage within the Kyiv Initiative Regional Programme. Based on the success of the joint action with the Council of Europe on cultural heritage in South East Europe carried out since 2003, a new joint action will be launched in 2009 in the Caucasus and Black Sea regions. The EC announced the co-financing from the Community Culture Programme in 2009.

The European Commission representatives took note of the information provided by the Council of Europe Secretariat on its cultural governance observatory function, that is bringing together for easy access existing Council of Europe online tools for cultural, heritage and audiovisual policy and practice information and monitoring.

It should be noted that a number of activities also falling within the context of intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity are to be found under ‘Inter-institutional co-operation’. These activities are of relevance to the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre), Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe.

In addition, a large number of activities in the intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity field fit within the context of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see under Joint Programmes and appendices for further details.

34. The European Union will examine its participation in the inter-institutional open platform of co-operation for intercultural dialogue initiated by the Council of Europe and UNESCO at the Faro Ministerial Conference.

35. The Council of Europe and the European Union will promote ideas and values fostering cultural diversity both among their respective member states as well as in relevant international fora. In this spirit, the Council of Europe will promote the ratification and implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions by its member states. The Council of Europe and the European Union will promote its ratification and implementation by their international partners.

A major international conference was organised in Strasbourg on 9 and 10 October to review the monitoring results and impact of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ten years after its entry into force. One of the workshops was devoted to the Framework Convention and its use by other international actors. On this occasion, the Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency highlighted the strong complementarity between the Agency, which focuses on analysis and advice, and the Council of Europe as a standard setting machinery coupled with powerful monitoring mechanisms such as the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention.

Education, youth and the promotion of human contacts

36. The Council of Europe and the European Union will co-operate in building a knowledge based society and a democratic culture in Europe, in particular through promoting democratic citizenship and human rights education. They will support the Bologna process aimed at establishing a higher education area by 2010, as well as education networks and student exchanges at all levels.

The European Commission participated in the 7th meeting of the Steering Committee for Education, Strasbourg, 10-12 March.

The 2008 version of the European Commission Report on “Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training - Indicators and benchmarks” includes the use of the civic competence composite indicator, which was developed in the framework of a joint research project “Active Citizenship for Democracy” (2005-2008), organised in co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning based on indicators and benchmarks (CRELL) of the European Commission. The results of this work were also promoted in a Euronews report prepared with input from the two institutions (September).

The Council of Europe co-operated with the European Commission in the development of the Indicator of language competence EILC13. The Indicator is being developed by the European Commission on the basis of the Council of Europe standards of language competence presented in the Language Policy Division’s “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”. Co-operation is ensured by the official participation of the Council of Europe in the EILC Advisory Board, which met twice in 2008 (19-20 June and 5 December) and by a ‘Co-operation agreement’ to be signed between the two Organisations.

The European Commission participated in the following meetings:

    - Bologna Working Group on the Global Dimension of the Bologna Process, 2nd, 3rd and 4th meetings, Vienna, 11 January; Brussels, 28 May and 2 September;
    - Working Group on the Global Dimension of the Bologna Process – subgroup on information, 1st and 2nd meetings, Brussels, 12 February and 15 April;
    - “Bologna 2010: Unlocking Europe’s potential – Contributing to a Better World'' Conference, Ghent, 19-20 May;
    - Bologna Coordination Group for National Qualifications Frameworks, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th meetings, Edinburgh, 22 February, Brussels, 21 May, Strasbourg, 4 September and 17 November;
    - 7th plenary session of the Higher Education and Research Steering Committee (CDESR), Strasbourg, 6-7 March;
    - 4th Seminar of the Ministers of Education: “Teaching Remembrance: An ethos for European Citizens - Legal reappraisal and Remembrance”, Nuremberg, 5-7 November;
    - Bologna Seminar "Aligning National against European Qualifications Frameworks: the Principles of Self-Certification", Tbilisi, 26 November;
    - 9th meeting of the Governing Board and Consultative body of the Education Reform Initiative in South Eastern Europe, Podgorica, 1-2 December;
    - Bologna Seminar "Recognition of Prior Learning. Assessment & Accreditation, Quality Assurance and Implementation of Procedures", Amsterdam, 11-12 December;
    - Intergovernmental Seminar on the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants, Strasbourg, 26-27 June.

The Council of Europe participated in the following meetings:

    - First meeting of the EQF Advisory Group (Advisory Group for the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning – EQF), Brussels, 13-14 March.
    - Launching conference of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF), one of the Commission’s flagship projects in higher education, where the Council of Europe was a member of the closing panel debate, Brussels, 3-4 June;
    - 1st, 2nd and 3rd meetings of a sub-group of the EQF Advisory Group to consider the referencing of national qualifications against the European Qualifications Framework, Brussels, 14 May, 4 July and 3 September;
    - 2nd meeting of the EQF Advisory Group (Advisory Group for the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning – EQF), Brussels, 29-30 September;
    - Bologna conference on “Employability: the Employers’ perspective and its implications”, Luxembourg, 6-7 November;
    - Conference “Let’s GO! Where to Now?”, which was the final conference of the European Mobility Campaign “Let’s Go!”, organised jointly by Education International and the European Student Union, Lille, 6-7 October;
    - European Training Foundation Workshop on ethnic groups and social inclusion in education and training in South East Europe, Turin, 13-14 November.

Both the Council of Europe and the European Commission play active roles in the Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG) and Board. The BFUG met in Ljubljana on 13-14 March, in Sarajevo on 24-25 June and in Paris on 14-15 October. The Board met in Ljubljana on 16 January and in Bled, Slovenia, on 9 June.

The Council of Europe and the Commission also co-operate within the EQF Advisory Group in supporting the implementation of the European Qualification Framework for lifelong learning.

The European Commission was associated with the analysis of national action plans on the recognition of qualifications, 1 January-15 October.

Additional activities in field of education fit within the context of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see under “Joint Programmes”.

Please see also under ‘Inter-institutional co-operation’ with respect to the European Centre for Modern Languages (Enlarged partial agreement of the Council of Europe).

37. The Council of Europe and the European Union will strengthen their co-operation in the youth field by developing and taking part in programmes and campaigns to empower young people to participate actively in the democratic process and by facilitating youth exchange.

The partnership of the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the youth sector celebrated in 2008 its 10th anniversary. It focuses on “European Youth Worker and Youth Leader Training”, “Euro-Mediterranean youth co-operation” and “Youth Policy Development and Youth Research”. The Partnership provides an added value to the programmes of the two institutions and their institutional partners, fosters co-operation, complementarity and synergies and enhances the Partnership’s impact on youth related policies and activities in Europe and beyond. The current Partnership Agreement covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2009.

In this context, a considerable number of activities in the youth sector fit within the framework of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see under “Joint Programmes”.

It should be noted, in particular, that the Joint Programme ‘Framework Partnership Agreement in the Field of Youth’ contains the following sub-programmes, designed to promote human rights education through leadership training and programmes to empower young people to become active citizens:

    - European Citizenship Trainings and Training for Trainers of Youth Workers;
    - quality, recognition and visibility of youth work;
    - human rights education, Euro-Mediterranean co-operation for intercultural dialogue;
    - youth policy development and co-operation, particularly in South East Europe and Eastern Europe and Caucasus;
    - better understanding and knowledge of youth and youth research;
    - European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKCYP), a single entry point and database to access knowledge on youth across Europe;
    - information and communication (on-line and other publications, development of training kits).

In addition, the European Commission supported actively – through the Partnership – the European Youth Campaign “All Different – All Equal” for diversity, human rights and participation. As from 2009, the Youth Partnership integrates a Euro-African youth dimension in its programme, which will be implemented and administered by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.

The partnership activities in the field of youth are implemented by a joint secretariat, located in the Directorate for Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe and supervised by a management board representing the two institutional partners. The main stakeholders in the youth field are represented in a consultative structure supporting the partnership activities.

It should be noted that a number of activities in the youth and sports sector can be found under ‘Inter-institutional co-operation’. These activities are of relevance to the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS).

38. They will encourage exchanges of good practices concerning freedom of movement, in order to improve people-to-people contacts between Europeans throughout the continent.

Social Cohesion

39. The Council of Europe and the European Union will co-operate in the field of social cohesion on the basis of the Council of Europe Social Charter and the relevant European Union texts.

40. On the basis of their respective frameworks, they will support the efforts by member states to exchange good practices on social cohesion and solidarity – in particular in combating violence, poverty and exclusion and in protecting vulnerable groups and to develop more efficient policies in this field.

The European Commission was represented at the 3rd meeting of the Committee of Experts on Social Security (CS-SS), Strasbourg 1-3 April 2008.

The MISSCEO (Mutual information system on social protection of the Council of Europe) is the Council of Europe counterpart of the MISSOC (Mutual Information System on Social Protection in the member states of the European Union, the EEA and in Switzerland), the network run by the European Commission. Both networks publish comparative tables on social protection systems in the countries in a complementary way, where MISSCEO covers countries not covered by MISSOC. The Council of Europe and the European Commission are participating in each others networks.
The Council of Europe was represented at the MISSOC Network meetings in Ljubljana on 21 and 22 May and in Paris on 23 and 24 October.

In addition, a national correspondent of MISSOC participated also at the 10th meeting of MISSCEO, which took place on 9 and 10 July in Yerevan.

The Council of Europe participated in a Round Table held in Sarajevo on 15 May 2008 in the framework of the transfer of responsibility for South East European regional co-operation on socio-economic activities from the Stability Pact to the Regional Co-operation Council. The European Commission was represented at the meeting in view of its active involvement in the regional programme of co-operation on employment policies (“Bucharest Process”), implemented by the Council of Europe and the International Labour Organisation.

The European Commission participated in a meeting of senior Ministry and employment agency officials, organised by the Council of Europe in Sarajevo on 19 and 20 June 2008, to discuss the creation of a permanent Regional Employment and Social Policy Network which would take over the work carried out under the “Bucharest Process”.

A partnership agreement on “Social Cohesion and Welfare for all” has been concluded in 2008, between the DG of Social Cohesion of the Council of Europe and the European Commission’s DG of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. It allows the Council of Europe to further explore some key aspects of the recent report of the High Level Task Force on Social Cohesion and to develop two projects in those fields: “Intercultural competences in social services” and “Europe of social and shared responsibilities”.

The Guidebook “Rethinking consumer behaviour for the well-being of all – Reflections on individual consumer responsibility” has received financial support from DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities;

The European Commission was represented at the 2nd meeting of the European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (CAHPAH), Strasbourg, 10-11 April.

A representative of the European Commission actively participated in the Council of Europe conference “Protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in Europe: towards full participation, inclusion and empowerment”, Strasbourg, 29-30 October. The Secretariat of the European Parliament was also represented.

The Council of Europe Secretariat General was represented as an observer at the three annual meetings of the European Commission’s High Level Group on Disability (HLG) in Brussels in March, June and October.

The Council of Europe Secretariat General was represented at the meeting of the European Parliament Disability Intergroup “Future of social security systems and pensions: ensuring full social inclusion and participation of disabled people”, Strasbourg, 23 April.

The European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (CAHPAH) was represented by its Chairperson at the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union Disability Conference: “Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – From Words to Reality?”, Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, 22-23 May.

A representative from DG III was invited to act as Moderator at the 2nd Forum on Social Services of General Interest (SSGI) organised by the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Paris, 28-29 October 2008.

The Council of Europe Secretariat General participated in the conference organised on 1-2 December by the European Commission on the occasion of the European day of persons with disabilities on "acting locally for a society for all".

The European Commission contributed to the work of the Committee of Experts on ageing of people with disabilities.

During a visit of a delegation from the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) to the Council of Europe on 18 June, the Secretariat presented the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015.

The Council of Europe presented the “DOSTA!” Roma Campaign programme during a seminar on Roma in Warsaw on 26 November, organised in co-operation with the European Commission.

The Coordinator for Roma and Travellers participated at expert meeting on Roma housing at the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) of the European Union (Vienna, 13 June) and at its consultation meeting on future co-operation (Vienna, 9 July).

The Coordinator for Roma and Travellers participated at the meeting of the Informal contact group of international organisations on Roma issues under the Slovenian European Union Presidency (Brussels, 22 April).

Organisation by the Coordinator for Roma and Travellers of the meetings of the Informal contact group of international organisations on Roma issues under the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Brussels, 22 April) and the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Brussels, 5 December).

The European Commission participated in the 25th and 26th meetings of the Committee of Experts on Roma and Travellers (MG-S-ROM), Strasbourg, 2-4 April and The Hague, 5-7 November.

The European Commission was represented at the 3rd and 4th meetings of the Committee of Experts on Social Policy for Families and Children (CS-SPFC), Strasbourg, 3-4 April and 3-4 November.

In the migration field, the European Commission was represented at the 55th meeting of the Steering Committee of the European Committee on Migration (CDMG), Strasbourg, 5-7 May.

A representative of the Council of Europe was invited to and participated in the “Building a Europe of asylum” conference which took place in Paris on 8 September under the aegis of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

It should be noted that a number of activities also falling within the context of social cohesion are to be found under ‘Inter-institutional co-operation’ as these concern partial agreements.

In addition, a number of activities in field of social cohesion fit within the context of Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Please see Under ‘Joint Programmes’.

Arrangements for co-operation

41. The Council of Europe and the European Union, within their respective policy frameworks, will consult regularly and closely, both at political and technical levels, on matters within the shared priority areas described above.

42. They should further continue to develop joint activities and co-operate through specialised Council of Europe structures, processes and initiatives as well as appropriate institutions of the European Union.

43. Such co-operation should include:

- reinforced dialogue on policy issues to identify joint priorities and develop common strategies with a medium or long-term perspective;
- regular exchanges of information and development of common views and initiatives;
- further co-ordination of operational activities in priority areas;
- enhanced consultation between networks/bodies with activities in the same priority or focal areas;
- partnership with those states benefiting from activities, programmes and other common initiatives carried out in this framework;
- joint activities and events.

The Deputy Secretary General discussed Council of Europe-related issues with representatives of member States in the COSCE14 on 21 April.

In addition, the following senior officials of the Council of Europe presented Council of Europe initiatives to the COSCE:

    - Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, 28 February;
    - Director General of Democracy and Political Affairs, 15 September;
    - Executive Secretary of the Venice Commission, 27 November;
    - Director General of Legal Affairs and Human Rights, 17 December.

Two meetings between the Troika of the Article 36 Committee of the European Union and the Council of Europe took place in Brussels on 24 June and Strasbourg on 8 December, where issues of co-operation in the criminal field, including terrorism were discussed in detail.

The Council of Europe/European Commission Senior Officials’ Meeting took place in Brussels on 18 November. This meeting represented an opportunity for officials from various Directorate Generals of both organisations to overview the co-operation and coordinate it for the future.

Meetings and mechanisms for strengthening co-operation

44. The Council of Europe and the European Union will pursue their regular “Quadripartite” meetings devoted to the most important aspects of co-operation and strategic issues. Ways of enhancing the parliamentary contribution to this process will be examined. In addition, ad hoc consultations at a high political level could be held on topical matters of common interest.

The first Quadripartite meeting of the year took place in Brussels on 10 March with the participation of the Slovak Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe Secretary General, the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union Council and the European Commission. The issues concerning pre-electoral assistance and South-East Europe were among the topics discussed during the meeting. 15

The second Quadripartite meeting took place in Brussels on 10 November with the participation of the Swedish Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General, the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The discussions focused on the conflict in Georgia and its consequences, as well as on regional co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe.16
.

The Secretary General met the European Commissioner for Consumer Protection (30 June) and the Vice-President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security (18 November) in Strasbourg to discuss matters of common interest. The Vice-President of the European Commission addressed the Committee of Ministers on this occasion.

The Deputy Secretary General met the Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth (22 April) in Strasbourg to discuss matters of common interest.

The Deputy Secretary General also met in Strasbourg the European Commission Deputy Director General for Enlargement on 9 June and the Director for Multilateral Relations and Human Rights (DG Relex) on 7 July.
The Secretary General also met the European Union Special Representatives for Central Asia and the South Caucasus in Strasbourg on 29 January and 22 February respectively.

The Deputy Secretary General met the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus in Brussels (8 December).

Since the signing of the MoU, co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union has always been addressed during meetings between the Secretary General and/or the Deputy Secretary General with European Union officials in the margins of international gatherings, and with senior level officials from member states.

45. More frequent consultations aimed at the reinforcement of political dialogue between, on the one hand, the Presidency/Troika of the European Union and, on the other hand, the Chairmanship and Vice Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers and Secretary General of the Council of Europe may take place on an informal basis in the Ministers’ Deputies and at the level of the Political and Security Committee (PSC).

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and President of the Council of the European Union presented the Presidency’s priorities to the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies on 30 January.

Inter-institutional co-operation

46. The European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are invited to reinforce their co-operation in order to further strengthen the parliamentary dimension of interaction between the Council of Europe and the European Union, in accordance with the Agreement to be signed by the respective Presidents.

Parliamentary Assembly

Co-operation between the two parliamentary institutions took place on the basis of the Agreement concluded by their Presidents on 28 November 2007. This Agreement adds a parliamentary dimension to the MoU on co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union. At the level of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee is responsible for the follow-up of the MoU. In its debate on 18 December 2008 and in its Resolution of 14 January 2009, the European Parliament has called for the potential of the MoU to be fully exploited.

Shortly after his election, the President of the Assembly met the President and the main political group leaders of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 11 March and discussed inter alia the accession by the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights and the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. They agreed to further develop co-operation, notably on matters related to promoting human rights and culture, as well as the observation of elections.

The President of the Assembly participated in the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 12 March.

On 10 November, the President of the Assembly participated in a series of events in Brussels to mark the 70th anniversary of Reichskristallnacht. One of these events was co-organised by the European Parliament and the European Jewish Congress. Amongst others, the President of the European Parliament and the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission attended these events.

The Presidential Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament held a joint meeting in Brussels on 28 August. This meeting took place in the framework of the co-operation agreement signed by both institutions in November 2007. The discussion centred on the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Several participants underlined also the necessity of greater complementarity and a better exchange of information between Parliamentary Assembly ad the European Parliament. The idea was also launched to organise such joint meetings more frequently, for example twice a year.

The Sub-Committee on Migration of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population of the Parliamentary Assembly organised in Kyiv on 4 and 5 September, a European Parliamentary Forum on economic migration, social cohesion and development together with the European Parliament (Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. This Forum was organised alongside the 8th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs.

A delegation of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Parliamentary Assembly took part in the meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education on 9 September in Brussels.

Several committees of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly have working relations at the level of rapporteurs and/or chairpersons or are jointly represented at seminars and hearings of the correspondent committees.

The Political Affairs Committee of Parliamentary Assembly continued to co-operate well with relevant European Parliament bodies as regards Belarus:

- in 2008, two meetings took place between the Chair of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Sub-Committee on Belarus, the Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Belarus and the Chair of the OSCE Ad Hoc Working Group on Belarus (so-called Parliamentary Troika on Belarus);

- in addition, on 16 December, the Political Affairs Committee organised a hearing on “European Union Policy towards Belarus: recent developments”, with the participation of the Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Belarus.

The Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee on the current situation in Kosovo has established working contacts with MEPs active on the same issue, including the Chair and other members of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with countries from South East Europe (DSEE), the European Parliament Rapporteur on Kosovo and some members of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET).

Working relations have been established with the “High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Community” of the European Parliament in the framework of the report of the Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee on Cyprus.

In January, the Rapporteur of the Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee on United Nations Security Council and European Union blacklists, made a presentation before a joint meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and its Home Affairs and Human Rights Sub-Committee.

On 7 April, the Chairperson of the Assembly’s Sub-Committee on Crime Problems and the Fight against Terrorism attended a Round Table on “Public provocation to commit terrorist offences” organised by the European Parliament (Exchange of views on the revision of Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA on combating terrorism).

The Rapporteur of the Assembly’s Committee on Economic Affairs and Development on the role and relevance of the world economic institutions in an era of globalisation, took part in the 17th session of the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 3 and 4 April and in the 2008 Annual Session of the Parliamentary Conference of the WTO on 11 and 12 September, both jointly organised in Geneva by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the European Parliament.

The Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population participated in Brussels on 10 and 11 September in a meeting on Europe, “Migration and Integration”, organised by the French National Assembly, the French Senate and the European Parliament.

On 15 October, the Assembly’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population was represented at a meeting of the relevant European Parliament Committee with the chairpersons of the committees responsible for migrations of the European Union parliaments.

Members of the Assembly’s Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs took part in the Joint Parliamentary meeting on Energy and Sustainable Development which was organised by the European Parliament and the French National Assembly and the Senate on 20 and 21 November in Strasbourg.

A member of the European Parliament took part in the Parliamentary Process Preparatory Conference “Parliaments for Water”, which was organised by the Assembly’s Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs in co-operation with the World Water Council and the Turkish Parliament prior to the 5th World Water Forum, and which took place in Strasbourg on 6 November.

The European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly continued their co-operation in 2008 in the framework of the Council of Europe Campaign "Stop domestic violence against women" (2006-2008). A member of the European Parliament participated in the lunch-debate organised by the Madariaga Foundation and the Parliamentary Assembly on the role of men in combating violence against women (Brussels, 4 March). The Chairperson of the European Parliament Committee on women's rights and gender equality (FEMM) participated in the Final Conference of the parliamentary dimension of the Campaign organised by the Parliamentary Assembly (Vienna, 30 April). The Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and Parliamentary Assembly Rapporteur, was invited to present the results of the Council of Europe Campaign at the public hearing on combating domestic violence organised by the FEMM Committee on 13 October in Brussels, in the presence of the Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Justice, Freedom and Security.

In 2008, the Parliamentary Assembly election observation delegations acted closely together with observer delegations from the European Parliament, in the framework of an International Election Observation Mission in Georgia (Extraordinary Presidential election, 5 January, and Parliamentary Elections, 21 May), Armenia (Presidential Election, 19 February), and Azerbaijan (Presidential Election, 15 October).

During their fact-finding visits to monitored countries, the rapporteurs of the Assembly’s Monitoring Committee regularly held meetings with European Union representatives.

The Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Science and Education maintained close contacts with the European Parliament’s STOA (Science and Technological Options Assessment).

The Secretariats of the Assembly and the European Parliament manage jointly the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation.

The Secretaries General of the Assembly and the European Parliament meet regularly to discuss matters of common interest.

There have been a number of references in texts adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament to each others' relevant work, including proposals for action.

It may also be noted in this connection that questions tabled by members in the European Parliament and in the Parliamentary Assembly regularly refer respectively to the Council of Europe and the European Union, for example the question on relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe and the written reply by the Swedish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of 30 September (CR (2008)31 Add.1).

47. The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and the other specialised bodies of the Council of Europe, as well as the relevant European Union institutions are especially invited to reinforce their co-operation.

The Commissioner for Human Rights has regular contacts with the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament, the Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Union Ombudsman.

On 20 February, he met the Commissioner for Enlargement. In addition, throughout 2008, the Commissioner had several exchanges of information with the Commissioner for External Relations with respect to crisis situations and with the Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security.

The Commission increasingly consulted the Council of Europe Commissioner’s office in the elaboration of draft legislation or on instruments to measure members states compliance with their human rights obligations, e.g. on children’s rights or migration and refugee issues.

The Commissioner consulted different representatives of the European Union under the European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, such as the latter’s Personal Representative for Human Rights and the European Union Counter-terrorism Coordinator.

Furthermore, his office had regular exchanges at the technical level in relation to human rights issues in third countries.

The office also participated in a number of events, seminars and expert meetings relating to issues being discussed within the European Union on children rights, Roma and travellers rights, migration, right to privacy and human rights defenders.

On 28 April, the Commissioner met the new Director for Multilateral Relations and Human Rights of the Directorate General for External Relations of the European Commission and gave a lecture on the human rights challenges in Europe for staff from the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament, organised by the Special Personal Representative for Human Rights of the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

The Commissioner regularly met with European Commission’s representatives, European Union delegations or missions during his country visits in 2008. Such consultations were done systematically, wherever possible. He also had regular talks with the representative of the European Commission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

During 2008, the Commissioner had meetings with the European Union presidency, the European Union troika or with all the Union’s member states during all his field visits. In addition, he liaised with the European Union’s special representatives and envoys for a specific country or region, where applicable, notably for the South Caucasus.

In addition, meetings have been held with ESDP 17 missions, as appropriate, during his country visits or special missions, where they exist.

In the European Parliament, the Commissioner made a presentation to the Civil Liberties Committee on 19 May, where several human rights concerns regarding draft European Union legislation and urgent situations where discussed. During the course of the year, he also met members of the European Parliament, notably its President and the Chairperson of the Sub Committee for Human Rights.

The Commissioner liaised early on with the newly appointed Director for the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency. Formal meetings between the Commissioner and the Director took place on 19 June and 31 October.

His office participated in formal consultations on the Agency’s work programme for 2009-2010 on 15 September. Furthermore, a joint project on Roma was launched in January. A joint statement in support of the European countries engaging and contributing to the UN Durban Review Conference was issued on 5 December. The Head of the National Human Rights Structures Unit of the Commissioner’s Office participated in the first meeting between the Fundamental Rights Agency and national institutions in Vienna on 15 and 16 May, with a view to ensuring that the work of the FRA and the Commissioner’s Office with the national institutions dovetail. Likewise, the Director of the FRA was invited to give a keynote speech at the annual meeting of national institutions which the Commissioner and the Irish Human Rights Commission organised in Dublin on 16 and 17 September.

The Commissioner’s office relates regularly with the European Ombudsman, inter alia by way of crossed participation in meetings organised by each of them with national ombudsmen or their staff. Also, the European Ombudsman sit together with the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Greek ombudsman on the Steering Board of the “Eunomia” Project for the promotion of the institution of ombudsman, a multi-year project that is implemented by the Greek ombudsman under the auspices of the Commissioner, funded by the Greek Government.

The Executive Secretary of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) had a series of meetings in Brussels from 12 to 14 November with relevant officials from the Council and Commission of the European Union and the European Parliament, aimed at developing synergy between the Committee and European Union institutions. One immediate outcome of those meetings was an invitation to the CPT to give a presentation at the first meeting of the Committee responsible for reviewing the implementation of EC Regulation 1236/2005 concerning trade in goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on 14 January 2009.

The CPT has also been invited to attend a meeting on minimum standards in pre-trial procedures, to be organised by the European Commission on 9 February 2009. It is envisaged that, in due course, members of the CPT’s Bureau will have exchanges of views with the Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM) of the Council of the European Union, as well as with relevant European Parliament Committees and EU Commissioners.

Reference should also be made to meetings between CPT representatives and senior officials of the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), in the context of talks held in Pristina from 9 to 11 December, aimed at enabling the CPT to continue its work in Kosovo, in line with the existing agreement signed in August 2004 between the Council of Europe and the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK).

In 2008, the Secretariat of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) continued its working relations with the Anti-Discrimination, Fundamental Social Rights and Civil Society Unit of the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs and the Citizenship and Fundamental Rights Unit of the Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security of the European Commission. ECRI’s Secretariat and the mentioned Commission services kept each other informed of important developments in their work and exchanged information on subjects of common interest such as legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination and the issue of ethnic data collection.

As regards co-operation between ECRI and the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), a meeting between ECRI’s Chair and the FRA’s Director and the Chair of its Management Board took place on 18 June in Strasbourg, at which both parties expressed their commitment to continuing the co-operation between the two bodies. Accordingly, a member of ECRI’s Secretariat participated in a FRA expert meeting on racism in sport and the Chair of ECRI chaired one of the working groups at the FRA Fundamental Rights Conference on 8 and 9 December in Paris.

48. The Council of Europe and the European Union will further co-operate by using the opportunities provided by existing partial agreements and conferences of specialised ministers.

Partial Agreements

GRECO18 continued to provide input to consultation meetings with the European Commission for the preparation of European Union Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy progress review reports.

Following an exchange of views with the Director General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in December 2007, contacts between the two bodies were intensified in 2008 and GRECO participated in three international conferences organised by OLAF.

With respect to co-operation between the Pompidou Group and the European Union, in 2008, contacts have continued with the European Union Council’s Horizontal Drugs Group and the EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addictions) on the topic of the improvement of European Drug policies based on scientific evidence.

In 2008, the second version of the “On-line register of current European drugs research” has been launched by the Pompidou Group in co-operation with EMCDDA. It now contains nearly 500 projects.

Participation of the Pompidou Group in meetings organised by the EMCDDA:

- Consultation meeting of the International and European agencies and organisations, Lisbon, 1 July 2008;
- 37th and 38th Management Board meetings of the EMCDDA, Lisbon, (2-4 July 2008 and 13-15 December 2008).

Meetings organised by the Council of Europe / Pompidou Group and attended by the European Commission:

- 23rd Annual Meeting of the “Co-operation Group of Drug Control Services at European Airports and in general Aviation”, Strasbourg, 5-7 May 2008;
- 8th Meeting of the “Experts Committee on Treatment”, Oslo, 15-16 May 2008;
- 7th Meeting of the “Expert Forum on Research”, Cracow, 20-21 May 2008;
- 62nd Meeting of the Permanent Correspondents, Warsaw, 25 November 2008;
- Mid-Term Conference, Warsaw, 26 November 2008 (DG-Health and Consumer Protection).

Meetings organised by the Council of Europe / Pompidou Group and attended by the EMCDDA :

The EMCDDA participated in:

- Meeting of the “Platform on Criminal Justice”, “Working Party on Questionnaire on Quasi-Coerced Treatment”, Paris, 5 February;
-8th Meeting of the “Expert Forum on Criminal Justice”, Strasbourg, 3-4 April 2008;
- 23rd Annual Meeting of the “Co-operation Group of Drug Control Services at European Airports and in general Aviation”, Strasbourg, 5-7 May 2008;
- 7th Meeting of the “Expert Forum on Research”, Cracow, 20-21 May 2008;
- 9th Meeting of the “Expert Forum on Criminal Justice”, Cavtat, Croatia, 2-3 October 2008;
- 10th Meeting of the “Expert Committee on Ethical Issues and professional standards”, Cavtat, Croatia, 3 October 2008;
- 62nd Meeting of the Permanent Correspondents, Warsaw, 25 November 2008;
- Mid-Term Conference, Warsaw, 26th November 2008.

The EMCDDA also attended the 2nd annual Meeting of the “Inter-Agency Group”, Warsaw, 28-29 April 2008, convened by the Minister of Health of Poland, President of the “Pompidou Group”.

Following the participation of the European Commission at the ECML's ‘Languages for Social Cohesion’ conference and the visit of the European Commissioner for Multilingualism to the Centre in autumn 2007, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) intensified efforts to establish a closer working relationship with the Multilingualism Policy Unit of the Commission in 2008. The Head of the Unit, was invited to the 17th ECML Governing Board meeting on 23 and 24 October and informed the members of the Board on current priorities and the latest developments within the Commission’s work on multilingualism. The Chair of the ECML Governing Board and the Director of the Centre were invited to join the working group on languages being set up by the Commission.

Eurimages is essentially a co-production fund. Synergies continued to be exploited between Eurimages and MEDIA 2007, the support programme of the European Union, which focuses its funding on training, development, distribution, promotion and exhibition.

Eurimages also shared a stand with the European Union MEDIA Programme during the main festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.

EUR-OPA Major Hazard Agreement and the European Union pursued their mutual co-operation: the European Union participated in the national platforms’ meeting promoted by the Agreement, and the Agreement participated in the European Commission disaster prevention stakeholders meeting.

The European Commission participated in the 10th, 11th and 12th meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee European Co-ordination Forum for WADA19 (CAHAMA), respectively in Strasbourg on 7 May, on 10 September in Copenhagen and on 14th November in Strasbourg.

The Deputy Secretary General participated in the Informal Meeting of European Union Sport Ministers in Brdo (Slovenia) on 17 March, in the meeting of European Union sport ministers held in Biarritz (France) on 27 and 28 November and in the meeting of the European members of the WADA Foundation Board on 25 January in Ljubljana (Slovenia).

The European Commission was represented at the 28th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on spectator violence, Solothurn, 5 and 6 June, as well as in the evaluation meeting of the EURO 2008, Strasbourg, 4 and 5 November.

Further to the establishment of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) in May 2007 and taking account of the “White Paper on Sport” of the European Commission (July 2007), exchanges of views took place on co-operation between the two organisations, in particular with a view to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty which will provide the European Union with a competence on sport. The Executive Secretary visited the Head of the Sport Unit of the Commission on 11 April.

On 18 June, both the Head of the Sports Conventions Unit and the Executive Secretary of the EPAS attended the first meeting of the European Union Working Group on Anti-Doping.

In November, the North-South Centre (NSC) signed a joint management agreement with the European Commission aimed at developing a comprehensive set of activities in the fields of global citizenship education and Euro-African youth co-operation. The project is based on two main pillars, i.e. the ambition to strengthen global citizenship education in the new member states of the European Union and, secondly, the promotion of Africa-Europe youth co-operation in the context of the European Union-Africa Strategy – and targets mainly civil society actors and local authorities. This project will be carried out over a period of three years (2009-2011).

In addition, a positive decision was taken on in October to add a new Euro-African dimension to the current EC/Council of Europe youth partnership. The North-South Centre has been entrusted with the implementation of this Euro-African dimension from 2009 (co-financed by the European Commission and the NSC).

In 2008, the European Commission participated at both meetings of the Executive Council in March and November, and at the NSC Bureau meeting of June. The Commission was also present as a member of the Jury for the annual North-South Prize in June and participated at the annual Lisbon Forum event in November. The European Parliament also participated at both meetings of the Executive Council and the Lisbon Forum event.

Conferences of Specialised Ministers

The European Commission participated in the following Conferences of Specialised Ministers:

    - Conference of Ministers responsible for migration affairs, Kyiv, 4-5 September;
    - Conference of Ministers responsible for youth, Kyiv, 10-11 October;
    - Conference of Ministers responsible for culture, Baku, 2-3 December.

49. The Committee of the Regions of the European Union and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe are invited to increase co-operation, building on their agreement of 13 April 2005.

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

In accordance with the 2005 Cooperation Agreement between the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the European Union Committee of the Regions (CoR), Committee members continued to take part in Congress missions to observe local and regional elections, allowing the Committee of the Regions to assess the situation of local and regional democracy in the field, in particular in non-European Union member states, and to coordinate positions of the Congress and CoR.

The Contact Group Congress/CoR met on 22 February in Brussels and on 4 July in Paris. In addition, a new practice of quadripartite meetings between Presidents and Secretaries-General of the Congress and of the Committee was established in 2008, with the first such meeting held on 20 June in Brussels.

In line with the orientation towards direct contacts between members and rapporteurs on common issues of the Congress’ committees and CoR specialised committees, rapporteurs of the Committee on Sustainable Development (Congress) and of the Commission on Sustainable Development (DEVE) of the CoR participated in each other’s meetings and the DEVE Committee Chair took part in the Congress’ Spring Session in March.

A meeting was also scheduled between the Chairs of the Committee on Culture and Education (Congress) and the Committee for Culture, Education and Research (CoR). This practice will be pursued in 2009 and will include participation in several conferences, in particular on urban regeneration and on climate change.

The Congress participated for the first time in the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels, an annual Open Days event organised by CoR from 6 to 9 October.

The Congress held a round table on co-operation in the Black Sea basin on 8 October, with the participation of the President of CoR.

The Congress also took part in the Conference on subsidiarity, organised by CoR on 24 October in Paris.

In addition, an agreement was reached, and preparations launched, for a joint conference “Towards a pan-European consensus on multilevel governance”.

50. The contribution of civil society to achieving the objectives shared by the Council of Europe and the European Union will also be encouraged.

Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs)

A representative of the Secretariat of the Fundamental Rights Agency was invited to speak at the Human Rights Grouping of the Conference of INGOs, on 23 January in Strasbourg, to further explore how the INGOs of the Council of Europe could contribute to the constitution of the FRA’s Fundamental Rights Platform, consisting, amongst others, of NGO/INGO representatives.

A delegation of the Conference of INGOs was invited to take part in the first meeting of this Platform in Vienna on 7 and 8 October and presented the Conference of INGOs’ long-standing experience of organising a structured dialogue with civil society within an international intergovernmental organisation.

Institutional presence

51. The Council of Europe and the European Union will consider how best to enhance and strengthen their presence in Brussels and Strasbourg respectively.

The Council of Europe Liaison Office in Brussels was upgraded as of 17 September, with the appointment of Special Representative of the Secretary General and Director of this office at senior level, and a number of meetings and contacts with high level EU-representatives have taken place.

The European Commission took a decision to open a Delegation to the Council of Europe in 2009.

Joint Programmes

52. In line with the Joint Declaration on co-operation and partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Commission signed on 3 April 2001, ongoing co-operation will be reinforced in the framework of the joint programmes, which could include regional thematic programmes. The Council of Europe will continue to provide for consultations with Council of Europe beneficiary member countries. Consultations involving the European Commission, the Secretariat of the Council of Europe and as a general rule the Council of Europe member countries concerned will continue to be organised to discuss the priorities of co-operation. Member and observer states which are donors will be invited to take part in this co-operation and its evaluation.

On a regular basis, the Council of Europe and the European Commission reviewed progress made under the Joint Programmes through Steering Committees.

Fifteen new Joint Programmes became operational in January. The combined financial envelope for these new JPs is € 20 877 224. The European Commission is contributing € 16 975 003 (81.3%) and the Council of Europe € 3 902 221 (18.6%).

Within the Framework Agreement (2007-2009) of the Youth Partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the two institutions concluded a new Specific Agreement for 2008 with a financial envelope of 1 150 000 €. Over the whole period of the Framework Agreement, the contribution of both the Council of Europe and the European Commission is balanced at 50% of expenditures. A new Joint Action was also launched for the European Heritage Days.

A Steering Committee meeting on the Joint Programme “Fostering a Culture of Human Rights in Ukraine and South Caucasus” was held in Strasbourg on 5 February. It enabled the Council of Europe, the European Commission and high-level representatives of the beneficiary countries to take stock of ongoing co-operation and discuss future priorities of action.

Please see document DSP(2009)1rev3 for a complete overview and exhaustive analysis of the Joint Programmes between the Council of Europe and the European Commission.

Visibility of the Partnership

53. The Council of Europe and the European Union commit themselves to improving co-operation in the area of communication with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of their shared values and of their partnership among both the general public and specialised audiences. They will consult on the calendar of their respective awareness-raising campaigns and will consider the possibilities of organising joint events.

54. The Council of Europe and the European Union will take all necessary measures to maximise the visibility of their joint action, especially of the joint programmes, for the citizens of their member states, with a special emphasis on the countries benefiting from this co-operation.

On the occasion of the 2008 annual European Heritage Days, a joint Council of Europe and European Commission Press Conference took place in Brussels on 25 September. The European Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth and the Council of Europe Director General for Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport introduced the programme and the role of the two institutions in its implementation at the European level.

The Council of Europe ensured extensive press coverage of the first European Heritage Forum, organised within the context of the European Heritage Days (Brussels, 23-24 October) as a contribution to 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. The representatives of the Commission played key roles in both the press conference and the Forum.

An event was organised to mark the European Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October with the aim of bringing greater public visibility to the subject. Communications material had been prepared, i.e. the brochure “Death is not justice”, as well as posters, factsheets, podcasts for the use of journalists and the general public. A television spot on the subject was also produced, with the aim of securing commercial play-outs in member states and for use at events. The media event took the form of a panel of high-level speakers and including the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The promotion of the Day was co-ordinated with the European Union through press work and websites.

With respect to the Roma campaign, co-funded by the European Commission, TV and radio spots were distributed by the Council of Europe. CDs of Romani versions of the European anthem were also produced and distributed. In addition, media training and campaign training were provided to governmental and other partners.

Promotional work was carried out around the European Development Days, an event organised by the European Commission and the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (Strasbourg, 15-17 November).

The Council of Europe systematically targets Brussels-based journalists specialising in European affairs. Regular media events were organised in Brussels and during the European Parliament’s sessions in Strasbourg, involving Council of Europe senior officials.

With a view to raising the profile of the Council of Europe in Brussels, a strategy will be developed and implemented in 2009 by the newly recruited Council of Europe press officer in Brussels.

Building on an agreement reached in 2005, the Council of Europe regularly uses the European Parliament premises for press work, making available information material and targeting journalists who are attending the European Parliament sessions. The Secretariat also received several groups of journalists taking part in study visits to the European Parliament, organised by the European Journalism Centre.

At the request of the European Commission, relevant authorities in Council of Europe member states were made aware, through the CDMC20 of a call for contribution to and participation in the 2009 Safer Internet Day.

Follow-up

55. The Council of Europe and the European Union will regularly evaluate the implementation of the present Memorandum of Understanding. In the light of this evaluation, it will be decided by common agreement, not later than 2013, to revise, if necessary, the Memorandum of Understanding with a view to including new priorities for their co-operation.

The follow-up to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding has been undertaken within the framework of the Quadripartite (Brussels, 10 March and 10 November) and Senior Official Meetings (Brussels, 18 November).

Since the publication of the last stock-taking document, the Committee of Ministers adopted the “Co-operation with the European Union: Priorities for future action” document. This document was prepared upon request of the Ministers at the 118th Ministerial Session of the Committee of Minsters (Strasbourg, 7 May).

The current document has been prepared also upon the request of the Ministers at the 118th Ministerial Session of the Committee of Minsters, for examination at the 119th Ministerial Session (Madrid, May 2009).

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.
Note 2 CPT = European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Note 3 RESCIF = Recherches et Etudes Systémiques sur le Communications Institutionnelles et Familiales
Note 4 All reference to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.
Note 5 CEPOL = European Police College of the European Union
Note 6 T-DO = Monitoring Group of the Anti-Doping Convention
Note 7 EUROMED = Euro-Mediterranean Partnership
Note 8 CEPS = Centre for European Policy Studies
Note 9 CBD = Convention on Biological Diversity
Note 10 Hereafter, the Republic of Moldova is referred to as Moldova.
Note 11 TC-ID = Council of Europe Ministers’ Deputies Thematic Co-ordinator on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue.
Note 12 CDCULT = Steering Committee for Culture
Note 13 EILC = Erasmus Intensive Language Course
Note 14 EU Council Working Group on the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
Note 15 Doc. CM/Inf(2008)14 of 12 March 2008.
Note 16 Doc. CM/Inf(2008)39 of 17 November 2008.
Note 17 ESDP = European Security and Defence Policy
Note 18 GRECO = Group of States against Corruption
Note 19 WADA = World Anti-Doping Agency
Note 20 CDMC = Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services


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