Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Rapporteur Group on Democracy
GR-DEM(2010)1 17 December 20091
Meeting of 12 January 2010
a. Review of Council of Europe co-operation and assistance activities
The Secretariat will present the report set out in document DSP(2009)15 orally. Following the presentation, delegations will be able to make comments or put questions.
b. State of play regarding the monitoring of the population and housing census: oral information by the Secretariat
It is recalled that at the meeting of the GR-DEM of 31 March 2009 (cf. documents GR-DEM(2009)CB4, DG3(2009)1 and DG3(2009)1_add ), the Secretariat reported on the conclusions of a monitoring operation carried out from 27 October to 7 November 2008 to test the various documents to be used in a future population and housing census in Kosovo. The Secretariat also presented the major recommendations of the Steering Committee of the International Monitoring Operation in this regard.
Following the above-mentioned recommendations, the population and housing census date originally planned for April 2010 has recently been postponed to April 2011. The work of the Statistical Office of Kosovo is now focused on addressing the issue of including all the minorities in the census through an outreach and communication campaign. The Secretariat will inform the Group of the recent developments and of the next steps planned regarding the monitoring of the census. Delegations will then have the possibility to make comments and ask questions.
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina : Draft pre-electoral assistance programme
Presidential and parliamentary elections will take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2010. In this perspective, the Secretariat has prepared, in co-operation with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a draft pre-electoral assistance programme.
The Secretariat will make an oral presentation of this draft, which is reproduced in document DPA/Inf(2009)41. The group will then be invited to examine it in view of its possible transmission to the Ministers’ Deputies so that they approve the programme and instruct the Secretariat to implement it.
3. Moldova: Future Council of Europe co-operation and assistance activities
At the meeting of the GR-DEM on 12 November 2009 (cf. document GR-DEM(2009)CB10, item 2), the Secretariat presented a document on prospects for co-operation with Moldova following a visit it paid to this country from 12 to 14 October 2009. This document was favourably received by the group and it was agreed that the Secretariat would rapidly prepare a series of proposals for co-operation activities responding to the wishes of the Moldovan authorities, in particular in the area of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, local government reform, confidence-building measures towards the Transnistrian region and the organisation of elections.
The group is invited to examine the proposals contained in document DPA/Inf(2010)1, which will be presented orally by the Secretariat in view of their transmission to the Ministers’ Deputies for approval at their 1075th meeting (20 January 2010).
4. Belarus: Future Council of Europe activities
Following the discussions held at the last meeting of the group on co-operation with Belarus (cf. document
GR-DEM(2009)CB11, item 2a), the Secretariat has prepared proposals for activities which could be conducted in Belarus in 2010.
The group is invited to examine these proposals, contained in document DPA/Inf(2010)3, which will be presented orally by the Secretariat, in view of their transmission to the Ministers’ Deputies for approval at their 1075th meeting (20 January 2010).
5. 16th Session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government (Utrecht, the Netherlands, 16-17 November 2009) – Report by the Secretary General
The report of the Secretary General is reproduced in document CM(2010)3. In this report, the Secretary General recalls the main features of the conference – including the informal discussion by ministers on the eve of the conference and the opening for signature of two new Council of Europe treaties – and draws the attention of the Committee of Ministers to the main points of the Utrecht Declaration, which includes a number of specific declarations.
I(A) Declaration on the impact of financial/economic crisis on local and regional government
I(B) Declaration on government action to overcome obstacles to transfrontier co-operation, including Protocol No 3 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities (CETS No. 106)
I(C) Declaration on the Council of Europe reference framework for regional democracy
In as far as these thematic declarations entail follow-up in the form of intergovernmental activities, it relates to the implementation of the Utrecht Agenda (see III below).
II. Declaration on the steps and measures to strengthen our co-operation further to the report on “How to enhance the work of the council of Europe in the field of local and regional democracy?” (the Kiviniemi Report)
Having regard to “the fundamental importance of democracy and governance for the mission of the Council of Europe”, the Ministers decided “to entrust the Minister of Public Administration and Local Government of Finland, Ms Mari Kiviniemi, with developing concrete proposals for a partnership with the Committee of Ministers by the end of 2010” and expressed the wish that the Committee of Ministers receive Minister Kiviniemi “at its session in May 2010… to consider with her the establishment of a partnership with the Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government to allow these Ministers collectively to lead and own the Council of Europe’s Agenda on local and regional government”.
When examining the agenda of the next ministerial session (May 2010), the Committee of Ministers could consider including this item on the agenda and invite Ms Kiviniemi to join the session in the consideration of this item.
III. The Utrecht Agenda for delivering good local and regional governance (2010-2013)
The implementation of the Utrecht Agenda will take place in the framework of the annual intergovernmental programmes of activities of the Council of Europe. The programme for 2010, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 25 November 2009 (1071th meeting of the Deputies), provides for the implementation of the Utrecht Agenda under Programme III.1.2.
IV. Declaration on ensuring the continuity of our work
The Conference appointed the Minister of Territorial Policy of Spain, Mr Manuel Chaves, with the task of “ensuring the continuity of [their] work until [their] next ministerial session”. The Committee of Ministers could welcome this decision and instruct the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) to assist him in this task.
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and Parliamentary Assembly
The Conference also addressed invitations to the Parliamentary Assembly (I(B), 20) and the Congress (II, B). As regards the Congress, it agreed:
“(c) to undertake, and to invite the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to join with us and our representatives in partnership, a review of:
- the present situation of the functioning of co-operation between the Congress and the intergovernmental sector with a view to securing high quality outcomes and facilitating each other’s work so that projects can be dealt with swiftly;
- all aspects of country monitoring, including ystematization, priority setting, follow-up work on Congress recommendations from the monitoring and future compliance with them, and NGOs’ involvement;
(d) to invite the Congress to work with us and our representatives, having regard to the outcomes of the above reviews, towards:
- developing the Council of Europe’s local and regional democracy agenda which should, as far as possible, reflect a common understanding between the Congress and ourselves,
- establishing the modalities for conducting periodic evaluations by independent, jointly appointed experts of the functioning of the work of the Council of Europe for the promotion of local and regional democracy, from all perspectives.”
The Committee of Ministers could instruct the CDLR to assist the Ministers in preparing a road-map as well as concrete proposals for close co-operation with the Congress in these fields.
* * *
The Group is invited to consider the draft decisions below with a view to their approval and transmission to the Ministers’ Deputies for adoption at their 1076th meeting (3 February 2010).
1. agreed to consider, when preparing the next ministerial session (May 2010), the inclusion of an item on the agenda of the session regarding possible establishment of a partnership with the Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government and to invite the Minister of Public Administration and Local Government of Finland, Ms Mari Kiviniemi, to attend the session and join in the consideration of this item;
2. took note with satisfaction that the Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government also entrusted the Minister of Territorial Policy of Spain, Mr Manuel Chaves, with ensuring continuity of their work until the next session of the conference and instructed the European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR) to assist him in performing this task;
3. noted that the Ministers have extended an invitation to the Congress to jointly undertake a review of the present situation of the functioning of co-operation between the Congress and the intergovernmental sector, and of all aspects of country monitoring, in the area of local self-government, and instructed the CDLR to assist the Ministers in this regard as well as with the subsequent work under the Utrecht Declaration;
4. transmitted the Utrecht Declaration to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities;
5. having regard to decisions 1 to 4 above, took note of the Utrecht Declaration as a whole.
6. Forum for the Future of Democracy: Information by the Secretariat on the evaluation of the Forum and the preparation of the 2010 session of the Forum in Yerevan
The Secretariat will inform the group of the evaluation of the Forum and the preparation of the session which will take place in 2010 in Armenia on the following theme “The Council of Europe Consensus on the Principles of Democracy”. Delegations will then have the possibility to ask questions and make comments.
7. Other business:
None at this stage.
8. Date of the next meeting:
It is proposed to hold the next meeting at 10 am on Tuesday, 9 February 2010.
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.
2 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.