Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation
GR-J(2006)CB2 2 March 20061
Meeting of 28 February 2006
1. The Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J) met on 28 February 2006, with Mr Niels-Jørgen NEHRING, Permanent Representative of Denmark, in the Chair. The Group adopted the agenda, as contained in the letter convening the meeting (GR-J(2006)OJ2).
Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1648 (2004) on the consequences of European Union enlargement for freedom of movement between Council of Europe member states – Draft supplementary reply
2. The GR-J discussed the revised draft reply contained in document CM/AS(2005)Rec1648 prov. and the proposal for amendment concerning paragraph 3 made by one delegation contained in document DD(2006)6 as well as a new proposal relating to the same paragraph made by two other delegations contained in document DD(2006)106. A further compromise proposal was also distributed in the meeting (document DD(2006)109). The large majority of delegations preferred the text contained in document CM/AS(2005)Rec1648 prov., but could also accept the compromise proposed in document DD(2006)106. One delegation stated that its authorities would like to keep the reference to the fact that the scope of action of the Council of Europe in this field was limited. A couple of delegations stated that they would need instructions on the proposal made in document DD(2006)109.
3. The proposal made by one delegation to continue the debate in the context of the discussions on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union met with no support from the other delegations that pronounced themselves on the issue. Another proposal to base the reply on the text contained in the Action Plan adopted at the Third Summit appeared interesting to several delegations.
4. Since no agreement could be reached, the Group agreed to come back to this item at its next meeting following further consultations.
Recommendation 1713 (2005) on Democratic oversight of the security sector in member states – Draft reply
5. The Chairman underlined that this draft reply had been on the Group’s agenda for a considerable time and that many efforts had been made also between meetings to find a compromise that would satisfy all delegations. Although he was of the opinion that the Group was now close to a solution, he considered that if no agreement could be reached at the present meeting, the Group would have to transmit the issue to the Deputies for a decision. The deadline set by the Deputies for replying to Assembly Recommendations had since long expired in respect of this recommendation.
6. The Group examined a compromise proposal made by the Chairman contained in document DD(2006)104. A large number of delegations stated that they could agree with the proposal, whereas one delegation stated that it could only agree provisionally, asking for time to consult its authorities.
7. The Group agreed provisionally on the draft reply contained in document CM/AS(2006)Rec1713prov.2 (including the compromise proposal) and decided to transmit it to the Deputies for adoption without further debate at their 958th meeting (15 March 2006). It also agreed to give the delegation needing more time until 6 March 2006 to indicate its final position.
Recommendation 1714 (2005) on Abolition of restrictions on the right to vote – Draft reply
8. The Chairman again referred to the considerable effort made to find a compromise solution (see para. 5 above).
9. The Group discussed the draft reply contained in document CM/AS(2005)Rec1714 prov.2. Whereas delegations could agree with the proposal made by one delegation to delete the words “in accordance with the above-mentioned convention” at the end of paragraph 3, one delegation could not agree with inserting the words “to them” after “the Assembly urges the countries concerned to implement the recommendations made” as proposed by another delegation.
10. The GR-J agreed provisionally to transmit the draft reply contained in document CM/AS(2005)Rec1714 prov. 3 to the Deputies for adoption without further debate at their 958th meeting (15 March 2006), with the understanding that the delegation having made the proposal to insert the words “to them” would be given until 6 March 2006 to indicate its final position.
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – Election of a member of the Committee of Experts in respect of Spain
11. The GR-J examined the candidatures presented by Spain (document CM(2006)13) on the basis of document GR-J(2004)2rev, in which it has laid down its the criteria for examining candidatures to the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages. It noted that the candidates had been listed in order of priority by the Spanish authorities and agreed to transmit the list to the Deputies to proceed with the election.
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – Second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of Germany
12. The Group examined the Second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of Germany and the draft Recommendation contained in document CM/Notes/957/10.2. The German delegation made the statement contained in the Appendix to this document.
13. The Group agreed to transmit the item to the Deputies for adoption of the draft decisions at their 957th meeting (1 March 2006) without further debate.
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Abridged report of the 6th meeting (Strasbourg, 23-25 November 2005)
14. Mr Roberto Lamponi, Director of Legal Co-operation, introduced the report of the CCJE contained in document CM(2006)20 and Addenda 1 and 2 as well as the draft decisions contained in document CM/Notes/957/10.4.
15. A number of delegations expressed their support for the activities of the CCJE. The Group agreed to transmit the report to the Deputies for adoption of the draft decisions at their 957th meeting (1 March 2006) without further debate. It agreed, however, to amend draft decision No. 2 to provide that the Chairman of the CCJE would be heard at one of the Deputies’ forthcoming meetings and not on a specific date.
16. The Group instructed the Secretariat to remind the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) to take account of specificities of different legal systems when considering the Action Plan prepared by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ).
Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI) – Draft Recommendation Rec(2006)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on research on biological materials of human origin and its draft explanatory memorandum
17. The Group examined Draft Recommendation Rec(2006)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on research on biological materials of human origin as contained in document
CM(2006)21 as well as its explanatory memorandum (CM(2006)21 Addendum).
18. The German delegation referred to the statement made by its representative at the time of approval of the draft Recommendation by the CDBI, mentioned in document CM(2005)171, which was presented to the Committee of Ministers in December 2005.
19. In reply to a question from a delegation, the Secretariat, Mr Carlos de Sola, Head of the Bioethics Department, explained that there was no contradiction in Article 23. This article referred to biological materials that were unlinked anonymised; such materials were defined in Article 3 as “biological materials which, alone or in combination with associated data, do not allow, with reasonable efforts, the identification of the persons concerned”. Article 23 considered the possibility that before the anonymisation procedure the person concerned might have given instructions setting limits on the use of the materials. In that case the effect of the anonymisation procedure would not be to destroy the instructions given on the use of the materials, but to erase the elements serving to identify the person to whom those materials related.
20. Another delegation stated that it supported the Recommendation which was a timely and interesting document. However, as the implementation of the Recommendation would require substantial financial resources, its authorities would need time to implement it. As regards to cost of the implementation of the Recommendation, Mr de Sola explained that the draft recommendation contained many provisions which could be fulfilled without particular financial implications and should accordingly be implemented without delay. It also contained provisions whose implementation required organisational efforts which had certain financial implications. The efforts in question always remained “reasonable”, as specified for example in Article 22, which was one of the key provisions of the draft recommendation. A number of provisions calling for organisational efforts might no doubt be implemented on a step-by-step basis: the very purpose of a recommendation was to point the way towards the objectives sought. It was therefore important that reasonable efforts should be made to also apply this type of provision as soon as reasonably possible,taking into account the circumstances prevailing in each country.
21. The Group agreed to transmit the draft Recommendation to the Deputies for adoption without further debate at their 958th meeting (15 March 2006) and for taking note of the explanatory memorandum.
Draft Protocol on the avoidance of statelessness in relation to state succession – Parliamentary Assembly Opinion No. 258 (2006)
22. The Group examined Parliamentary Assembly Opinion No. 258 (2006) and document GR-J(2006)3 containing comments by the Secretariat. All delegations taking the floor agreed with the proposals made by the Secretariat.
23. The Group agreed to transmit a consolidated version of the text to the Deputies for adoption at its 958th meeting (15 March 2006). The Group also agreed on a draft decision in which the Deputies would take note of the above-mentioned document prepared by the Secretariat.
Any other business:
Procedure for the examination of draft terms of reference for the Committee of experts on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse (PC-ES)
24. The Group agreed to examine the draft terms of reference by written procedure with a deadline for delegations to transmit their comments to the Secretariat expiring on 8 March 2006. It asked the Secretariat to issue a revised version of document GR-J(2006)4, containing the proposals made by one delegation in document DD(2006)108 and another proposal made in the meeting.
25. The Chairman explained that he would decide on the basis of the comments made by delegations whether to continue the written procedure or place the item on the agenda of the next meeting of the GR-J (30 March 2006). If an agreement could be reached by written procedure, the aim would be to transmit the draft terms of reference to the Deputies for adoption at one of their meetings in March 2006.
Date of the next meeting
26. The next meeting would take place on Tuesday, 30 March 2006 at 10 am.
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.