CM/Cong(2007)Rec197 final 22 May 2007
Urban security in Europe –
Recommendation 197 (2006) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
(Reply adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 May 2007 at the 995th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
1. The Committee of Ministers has given careful consideration to Recommendation 197 (2006) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on urban security in Europe. It appreciates the Congress’ interest in this important issue. The Committee of Ministers has brought the recommendation to the attention of the governments of the member states and forwarded it to the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC) and the Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR), so that they bear it in mind in their future activities.
2. The Committee of Ministers points out that strengthening the security of Europe’s citizens is an important aspect of the Council of Europe’s Third Summit Action Plan. The Council has accordingly stepped up the development of European standards to control crime.
3. In this context, the Committee of Ministers wishes to draw the attention of the Congress to the 27th Conference of European Ministers of Justice, which was held by the Council of Europe in Yerevan in October 2006 on the subject of “Victims: place, rights and assistance.” At the conference, the Ministers of Justice from the Council’s 46 member states recommended that consideration be given to further activities dealing with the technical and legal aspects of the prevention of crime, in particular crime which targets vulnerable victims, as well as with restorative justice, including mediation.
4. Reference is also made to a high-level meeting of Ministries of Justice and of the Interior on the subject of “Improving European co-operation in the criminal justice field” held in Moscow on 9 and 10 November 2006 by the Council of Europe and the Russian Ministries of Justice and of the Interior as part of the co-operation programme. The participants adopted conclusions underlining the need to improve the efficiency of international co-operation in criminal matters in order to prevent and effectively combat crime, while ensuring respect for the European Convention on Human Rights.
5. The Committee of Ministers draws the attention of the Congress to the “Children and Violence” part of the Programme “Building a Europe for and with children” which seeks to eliminate violence against children and help states to apply integrated prevention policies, while raising awareness of the problem among professionals and the public at large. It also draws attention to the Council of Europe campaign to combat violence against women, including domestic violence.
6. Like the Congress, the Committee of Ministers recognises the need to promote concerted action at all levels (local, national and European) and notes, in particular, the importance of municipal authorities being more closely involved and taking on greater responsibility in implementing security policies. In this connection, the Committee of Ministers refers to Recommendation Rec(2003)21 concerning partnership in crime prevention.
7. The Committee of Ministers underlines that one way of combating urban insecurity is to develop sustainable local communities where people have access to a range of appropriate services and which are pleasant to live in. These communities must have the resources to satisfy the needs and expectations of their citizens, who should have real opportunities for participating in community life. In this connection, the Committee of Ministers wishes to underline the conclusions of the 14th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government (Budapest, 24-25 February 2005), in which the Ministers called on the Heads of State and Government to indicate in their future agenda for the Council, to be adopted at the Warsaw Summit, “that effective democracy and good governance at the local and regional level are important for (…) creating sustainable communities.” The Ministers also adopted the Agenda for delivering good local and regional governance, which gives priority to democratic citizenship and citizen participation in public life at local level.
8. In this connection, the Committee of Ministers notes that the Heads of State and Government decided at the Warsaw Summit to take the necessary steps, including through the establishment within the Council of Europe Secretariat of a Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform, to implement the Agenda for delivering good local and regional governance, adopted at the 14th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government (see above), by promoting standards and good practices and by assisting member states with capacity-building at the local and regional level, in close co-operation with the Congress.
9. With regard to the recommendation made by the Congress in paragraph 15 concerning the creation of a European Resource Centre for Urban Security, the Committee of Ministers considers that the Council of Europe carries out a large number of activities to increase urban security. It points that the European Crime Prevention Network, set up by the Council of the European Union in May 2001, has a mandate that may largely overlap with that of the European Resource Centre for Urban Security, as proposed. In the current budgetary situation, the Committee of Ministers is of the opinion that it would be appropriate to explore the possibility of stepping up co-operation with the European Union before considering examination of whether to set up a new body in this field.