Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
GR-DEM
Rapporteur Group on Democracy

GR-DEM(2009)2rev 4 February 20091
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Draft annotated agenda
Meeting of 10 February 2009

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1. “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”:

a. Exchange of views with Mr Erwan Fouéré, Special Representative of the European Union

Following an initial presentation by Mr Fouéré of his mandate and activities, delegations will have the possibility to ask questions or make comments.

b. Draft programme of co-operation for 2009-2010 (item for decision)

Following the presentation by the Secretariat of the draft programme of co-operation contained in document DSP(2009)4, and the comments which the delegation of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” may wish to make, the group will be invited to hold an exchange of views on the draft programme, with a view to forwarding it to the Ministers' Deputies so that they can approve it and authorise the Secretariat to implement it.

2. Moldova: State of co-operation with the Council of Europe

In addition to the information set out in document SG/Inf(2009)1, the Secretariat will present orally an overview of the co-operation conducted to date between the Council of Europe and Moldova. In the light of this information and any observations which the Moldovan delegation may wish to make, the Group will be invited to hold an exchange of views on the progress of this co-operation and to provide orientations for future co-operation.

Furthermore, it is recalled that at their 1032nd meeting (9-10 July 2008), the Ministers’ Deputies approved a series of proposals by the Secretariat for a Council of Europe contribution to the implementation of confidence-building measures in the context of the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict and instructed the Secretariat to report back in due course to the GR-DEM on the implementation of these activities.

Following the presentation by the Secretariat of document DPA/Inf(2009)2, and the comments which the delegation of Moldova may wish to make, the group will be invited to hold an exchange of views on the activities carried out to date and their continuation.

3. Russian Federation: Programme of co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic/ Outcome of the programme in 2008 and plan of activities for 2009

In the light of document DPA/Inf(2009)3, which will be presented orally by the Secretariat, and any comments which the Russian delegation might wish to make, the group will be invited to hold an exchange of views on the outcome of the Programme of co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic in 2008 and the plan of activities for 2009.

4. European Committee on local and regional democracy (CDLR) (Item for decision)

a. Abridged report of the 42nd meeting (Strasbourg, 8-10 December 2008)

The GR-DEM is invited to review the meeting report of the CDLR (document CM(2009)8) with a view to preparing the decisions of the Deputies. As regards the work of the CDLR, the latter took further the work on a draft additional protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ECLSG) on democratic participation, with the finalisation expected at the next plenary session in April 2009. The CDLR agreed that the Committee of Ministers should subsequently be invited to adopt the draft protocol and open it for signature on the occasion of the 16th session of the Conference of Ministers responsible for local and regional government in Utrecht (16-17 November 2009).

Discussions were held on possible further topics for inclusion in another protocol to the ECLSG, and a questionnaire to governments was adopted. Implementation of activities included in the 2008 programme was reviewed and terms of reference of the subordinated committees needed for the implementation of the 2009 programme adopted (these were examined by the GR-DEM at its meeting on 20 January 2009). As regards the working methods, having recourse to rapporteurs, the use of “rapid response service” and the organisation of thematic workshops are worth mentioning.

An Opinion to the Committee of Ministers on Congress’s Recommendation 240 “Draft European Charter of Regional Democracy” was adopted. The GR-DEM could have a preliminary exchange of views on this Opinion and might wish to invite a representative of the Congress for an exchange of views on the proposal for a European Charter of Regional Democracy at one of its forthcoming meetings.

The preparations for the 16th session of the Conference of Ministers responsible for local and regional government were taken further with the identification of themes (the Committee of Ministers already took note of them at its 1045th meeting in the framework of the item “Conferences of Specialised Ministers - State of preparation”) and modalities of the organisation of debates and conclusions. In particular, the CDLR noted the plans for two major preparatory conferences to be held in Enschede on 2-3 April 2009 and Maastricht in July 2009.

At the close of the discussion, the group will be invited to consider the draft decisions below with a view to their approval and transmission to the Ministers’ Deputies for adoption at their 1050th meeting (11 March 2009).

The Deputies:

1. took note of the Opinion of the CDLR on Congress’s Recommendation 240 and agreed to adopt a reply to this Recommendation in due course;

2. took note of the state of play as regards the draft additional protocol on democratic participation and of the intention of the CDLR to finalise this work in time for the Committee of Ministers to adopt and open it for signature at the 16th session of the Conference of Ministers responsible for local and regional government (Utrecht, 16-17 November 2009);

3. having regard to decisions 1 and 2 above, took note of the report of the 42nd meeting of the CDLR, as it appears in document CM(2009)8, as a whole.

b. Draft Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the evaluation, auditing and monitoring of participation and participation policies at local and regional level

At its 42nd meeting, the CDLR also approved the aforementioned draft recommendation (cf. document CM(2009)8 add), following the finalisation of the CLEAR tool, for submission to the Committee of Ministers. The draft recommendation builds on the earlier Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation Rec(2001)19 on participation of citizens in local public life. The CLEAR tool appended to the draft recommendation results from the experience of member states which tested it. A first wave of testing was reviewed at a major conference in Tampere (2006) and the second wave was concluded in 2008. This testing took place in several municipalities of Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, that had volunteered to do so.

The GR-DEM could recommend the Ministers’ Deputies to adopt the Recommendation.

5. Activities on e-democracy / e-voting

a. Ad hoc Committee on e-democracy (CAHDE) – Abridged report of the 4th plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 13-14 November 2008) (item for decision)

The Secretariat will introduce the abridged report of the fourth and final meeting of the CAHDE (cf. document CM(2009)9) orally. Appendix II of the abridged report contains proposals to the Committee of Ministers on possible future work in the field of e-democracy which the CAHDE has prepared in conformity with its terms of reference.

In that document, the CAHDE has identified a number of emerging issues that merit further conceptual and possibly normative work. Such issues include (a) the regulatory dimension of e-democracy, (b) initiatives from the bottom upwards and how public authorities and international organisations can promote such initiatives and establish effective links between their activities and social networking applications, and (c) the way in which e-consultations can facilitate the increasing practice of public consultations.

In this connection, it is recalled that the Ministers’ Deputies, when adopting the abridged report of the 3rd meeting of the CAHDE at their 1040th meeting (5 November 2008), agreed to come back to the issue of possible further work and action by the Council of Europe “after the end of the Ad hoc Committee’s mandate in the light of the conclusions of the General Rapporteurs of the Forum for the Future of Democracy on the theme of e-democracy (Madrid, 15-17 October 2008) and the discussion and findings by the CAHDE at its 4th meeting (Strasbourg, 13-14 November 2008), bearing in mind budgetary constraints”.

Delegations are therefore invited to consider the CAHDE’s proposals with a view to providing the project on “Good Governance in the Information Society” with guidance for its future work, thus maintaining the Council of Europe’s role as a leading and pioneering international organisation in the field of e-democracy and related fields. This work will also be instrumental in the implementation of the conclusions of the 2008 Session of the Forum for the Future of Democracy (see also agenda item 6 below). The Secretariat will respond to any questions that delegations might have with regard to the continuation of work on e-democracy under the programme of activities of 2009.

Finally, the GR-DEM is invited to examine the abridged report as a whole with a view to recommending its adoption by the Ministers’ Deputies.

b. Draft Recommendation on e-democracy and draft explanatory memorandum thereto (item for decision)

The Secretariat will introduce the draft Recommendation on e-democracy and draft explanatory memorandum (cf. documents CM(2009)9add 1 and 2) orally. A set of accompanying background documents will be published on the Council of Europe website (www.coe.int/democracy) as practical tools in the implementation of e-democracy.

It is recalled that the Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC), at its 8th meeting on 25-28 November 2008, and the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR), at its 42nd meeting on 8-10 December 2008, gave a favourable opinion on the draft Recommendation.

The GR-DEM is invited to examine the draft recommendation and draft Explanatory Memorandum in order to forward them to the Ministers’ Deputies with a view to adopting the recommendation and taking note of the Explanatory Memorandum.

c. Second biennial meeting to review developments in the field of e-voting and the application of Rec(2004)11 on e-voting (Madrid, 16 October 2008) (item for information)

The second biennial meeting to review developments in the field of e-voting and the application of Rec(2004)11 on e-voting (Madrid, 16 October 2008) was organised in the context of the 2008 Session of the FFD. At that meeting, the representatives of member states present agreed that the Recommendation on e-voting continues to be accurate and useful. At the same time, the participants felt that in the light of experiences and developments in the field of e-voting during the last four years, it might be appropriate to develop some additional comments on certain parts of the Recommendation. It was therefore agreed that the Secretariat should take an inventory of the topics which member states feel require more elaboration with a view to a presentation of the outcome at the next biennial meeting in 2010. The participants also suggested that the issues of certification of e-voting systems as well as the observation of e-enabled elections should be the priority fields of the Council of Europe’s future work on e-voting.

The GR-DEM is invited to consider the report of the above-mentioned meeting (document GGIS(2009)1) with a view to forwarding it to the Ministers’ Deputies.

At the close of the discussion, the group will be invited to consider the draft decisions below with a view to their approval and transmission to the Ministers’ Deputies for adoption at their 1049th meeting (18 February 2009).

The Deputies:

1. took note of the abridged report of the 4th and final meeting of the Ad hoc Committee on e-democracy (CAHDE) (Strasbourg, 13-14 November 2008), as it appears in document CM(2009)9;

2. took note of the proposals prepared by the CAHDE to the Committee of Ministers on possible future work in the field of e-democracy as well as of relevant parts of the conclusions of the General Rapporteurs of the Forum for the Future of Democracy on the theme of e-democracy (Madrid, 15-17 October 2008) and endorsed these proposals as a basis for the future work of the Project “Good Governance in the Information Society”, in conformity with the Programme of Activities for 2009;

3. adopted the Recommendation on e-democracy and took note of the explanatory memorandum thereto;

4. took note of the report of the biennial meeting to review developments in the field of e-voting and the application of Rec(2004)11 on e-voting (Madrid, 16 October 2008), in particular of the proposals resulting from it with regard to priority issues for the Council of Europe’s future work in this field.

6. Forum for the Future of Democracy: Report of the last meeting of the Advisory Board

    (30 January 2009) (item for information)

In addition to the information contained in document FFD/AB(2009)3, the Secretariat will report orally on the meeting.

7. Any other business

None at this stage.

8. Date of the next meeting

It is proposed to hold the next meeting on Tuesday, 10 March 2009 at 10 am.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.


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