Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation
GR-J(2007)CB6 24 September 20071
Meeting of 18 September 2007
1. The Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J) met on 18 September 2007, with Mr Bruno GAIN, Permanent Representative of France, in the Chair. The agenda (GR-J(2007)OJ6) was adopted. The Chair pointed out that, as decided by the Deputies at their 1003rd meeting (CM/Del/Dec(2007)1003/6.2), the Group would examine the wording of decisions taken in the framework of partial agreements under "Any other business".
26/07 European Commission for the efficiency of justice (CEPEJ)
a. Activity Report 2006
b. Abridged report of the 9th meeting (Strasbourg, 13-14 June 2007)
c. Draft scheme for evaluating judicial systems - 2006-2008 cycle –
CM(2007)123, CM(2007)124, CM(2007)124 add1 and CM(2007)124 add2
2. Introducing this item, the Chair praised the work of the CEPEJ and presented the documents which were to be examined by the Group. He also pointed out that the Deputies would, on 26 September 2007, be holding an exchange of views with the President of the CEPEJ, Mr Fausto De Santis.
3. One delegation said that the CEPEJ could not set up working groups without the Committee of Ministers' permission, and pointed out that contacts between the intergovernmental committees and the CEPEJ had to be authorised by the Committee of Ministers. The Secretariat said that, according to Article 7.2.b of Resolution (2002) 12, the CEPEJ could set up working parties and, as far as available resources allowed, hold ad hoc meetings whenever it considered these necessary. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 4.4, the CEPEJ supplied opinions at the request of appropriate Council of Europe committees, and in this context, Council of Europe steering committees, particularly the CDCJ, CDPC and CDDH, could request the CEPEJ to prepare specific action plans, best practice surveys or guidelines. Some delegations expressed great satisfaction with the documents presented by the CEPEJ and with the transverse nature of its work.
4. Following discussion, the Chair noted that one delegation had raised a terminological problem concerning the Statute of the CEPEJ, and that the Group could discuss this matter under "Any other business" of the Agenda if necessary. The Group agreed to transmit the documents to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1005th meeting, on 26 September 2007.
27/07 Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI)
a. Abridged report of the 32nd meeting (Strasbourg, 4-8 June 2007)
b. Draft Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine concerning genetic testing for health purposes - Invitation to the Parliamentary Assembly to give an opinion
CM(2007)128 and CM(2007)128 addendum
5. Introducing this item, the Chair praised the work of the CDBI and stressed that the aforementioned Draft Protocol was perfectly in line with the activities of the Council of Europe. He retraced the history of the Draft Protocol and welcomed its completion.
6. The Group examined the abridged report of the 32nd meeting of the CDBI, as well as the proposal to transmit to the Parliamentary Assembly for opinion the Draft Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine concerning genetic testing for health purposes. Several delegations expressed their appreciation of this draft Protocol and for the quality of the work carried out by the CDBI.
7. Following discussion, the Chair noted that the Group agreed on the transmission of these texts to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions without further discussion at their 1005th meeting, on 26 September 2007.
28/07 European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC)
a. Abridged Report of the 56th Plenary Meeting
b. draft specific terms of reference of the Group of specialists on counterfeit pharmaceutical products (PC-S-CP)
c. Draft revised specific terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of
d. draft ad hoc terms of reference for the Council for Penological Co-operation (PC-CP) relating to probation and aftercare services in the European criminal justice systems
8. The Chair invited the Group to examine the abridged report of the CDPC and the draft terms of reference appended thereto. He pointed out that the terms of reference were the result of excellent work by the Secretariat.
9. The Group examined the terms of reference in the light of the amendments proposed by delegations. Several delegations thanked the Secretariat for its efforts. On the subject of the draft terms of reference of the PC-S-CP, one delegation wondered about the legality of a Group of Specialists comprising only 11 members appointed by the Secretary General. The Director of Standard-Setting (DGHL) explained that Groups of specialists did their work speedily and more efficiently, and that, in this particular case, the aim was to conduct a study which would subsequently be discussed by the steering committee. Where the other draft terms of reference were concerned, the Secretariat provided the clarifications requested by certain delegations.
10. At the end of the discussion, the Chair noted that the Group agreed on the transmission of the abridged report and the draft amended terms of reference (see the appendices to the Notes (CM/Notes/1005/10.3)) to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1005th meeting, on 26 September 2007. One delegation reserved its position where the terms of reference of the PC-S-CP were concerned.
22/07 European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ)
a. Executive Summary of the 78th meeting of the Bureau of the CDCJ (Strasbourg, 7-8 June 2007)
b. Draft revised specific terms of reference of the CDCJ
CM(2007)141, CM(2007)141 corr and DD(2007)469
11. The Chair invited the Group to examine the Executive Summary of the 78th meeting of the Bureau of the CDCJ, as well as the draft revised specific terms of reference, in the light of a proposed amendment presented by one delegation (see DD(2007)469). One delegation welcomed the action plan drawn up by the Bureau of the CDCJ, while another delegation welcomed the inclusion in the terms of reference of the CDCJ of co-operation with the CDDH and CDMG. Another delegation said that the Committee of Ministers could not examine documents presented by the Bureau of the CDCJ, and requested that this item be deleted from the agenda. The Director of Standard Setting (DG-HL) explained that the Bureau had met at the request of the CDCJ, and that the decisions taken had been approved by the CDCJ following written consultation of the national delegations.
12. In the light of the discussion, the Chair proposed that document CM(2007)141 be corrected, specifying that the documents presented by the Bureau had been approved by the CDCJ, and that the draft decisions be transmitted to the Deputies for adoption at their 1005th meeting (26 September 2007), with the draft revised specific terms of reference, as amended (see the appendix to Notes CM/Notes/1005/10.4). This was agreed.
c. Draft Recommendation Rec(2007)… of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the Legal Status of Non-Governmental Organisations in Europe and its Explanatory Memorandum
CM(2007)78, CM(2007)78 add2 and DD(2007)443
13. The Chair invited the Group to examine the aforementioned draft recommendation in the light of the various proposed amendments submitted by one delegation (see DD(2007)443). The representative of the delegation which had distributed document DD(2007)443 explained that the proposed amendments were in conformity with his country's current legislation on NGOs, and requested that the draft recommendation be referred back to the CDCJ for re-examination.
14. Numerous delegations indicated their support for the draft recommendation, expressed great satisfaction and said that they could not accept the proposed amendments designed to restrict the freedom and action of NGOs. They pointed out that it was desirable for this draft to be adopted as soon as possible.
15. In the light of the discussion, the Chair noted that several delegations indicated their total disagreement with the proposed amendments; he observed that a very large majority of delegations had indicated that they wished to adopt the Draft Recommendation in its present wording; he therefore questioned the usefulness of sending it back to be re-examined by the CDCJ. In views of the circumstances, the Chairman proposed to transmit the draft recommendation, as it stands, to the Deputies for adoption at their 1006th meeting, on 10 October 2007. This was agreed. One delegation reserved its position on this item.
29/07 Committee of Legal advisers on public international law (CAHDI) – Draft ad hoc terms of reference with a view to examining the consequences of the so-called “disconnection clause” in international law
GR-J(2007)9 and DD(2007)468
16. The Chair invited the Group to examine the terms of reference of the CAHDI in the light of a proposed amendment presented by one delegation (see DD(2007)468). The Group agreed to this proposed amendment, it being understood that the wording of the technical adjustment should not be interpreted as limiting in any way the rights and prerogatives of Council of Europe member states. During the discussion, one delegation expressed the opinion that CAHDI should also consider the possible rewording of the so-called "disconnection clause", given the negative connotation of this denomination. Other delegations supported this viewpoint.
17. Following a discussion, the Chair concluded that the CAHDI should also include, in its report, proposals on the best way of referring to this kind of clause, given the negative connotation of the term "disconnection clause". He noted that the Group agreed to transmit the draft terms of reference, as amended (see the appendix to Notes CM/Notes/10.5), to the Deputies for adoption at their 1005th meeting (26 September 2007).
30/07 Situation of Finno-Ugric and Samoyed Peoples – Parliamentary Assembly
Recommendation 1775 (2006)
REC_1775 (2006), CM/AS(2007)Rec1775 prov2
18. The Group indicated its agreement with the draft reply to the aforementioned recommendation, as it appeared in document CM/AS(2007)Rec1775 prov2, and agreed to transmit it to the Deputies for adoption without discussion at their 1005th meeting (26 September 2007).
31/07 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – Second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of Denmark
19. The Group examined the second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of Denmark and the draft recommendation contained in document CM(2007)125.
20. The delegation of Denmark made the declaration which appears in Appendix I.
21. The Group agreed to transmit the report to the Deputies for adoption of the draft decisions without further discussion at their 1005th meeting (26 September 2007).
32/07 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – Election of a member of the Committee of Experts in respect of the United Kingdom
22. The GR-J examined the candidatures put forward by the United Kingdom (document CM(2007)129) on the basis of document GR-J(2004)2rev, in which it had laid down its criteria for the consideration of candidatures for membership of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. It noted that the United Kingdom delegation had expressed a preference for the sitting member, Mr Emyr Lewis. The Group agreed to transmit the list to the Deputies (1005th meeting, 26 September 2007), so that a vote could be taken.
33/07 Committee of Experts on Terrorism (CODEXTER)
Draft terms of reference for the Group of Specialists on Residence issues in the fight against terrorism (TER-S-RES)
CM(2007)94 and GR-J(2007)10
23. Introducing this item, the Chair pointed out, that only six CODEXTER delegations had sent comments on the usefulness and added value of such a Group of Specialists.
24. During the discussion, some delegations expressed doubts as to the relevance of this Group of Specialists and requested that this item be referred back to CODEXTER for more detailed examination, so as to ensure that there was added value and that specific issues relating to terrorism did exist. Other delegations, in contrast, were in favour of the setting-up of this Group of Specialists.
25. At the end of the discussion, the Chair noted that a significant number of delegations had expressed reticence about the setting-up of this group of specialists, and that the GR-J could not agree on the transmission of these draft terms of reference to the Deputies. He proposed that this question be referred back to CODEXTER for more detailed examination. This was agreed.
Any other business
26. The Chair announced that, for lack of time, the item concerning the wording of decisions taken in the framework of partial agreements could not be dealt with. It would be examined at the meeting of the Group on 6 November 2007.
Date of the next meeting
27. The next meeting would take place on Thursday 27 September 2007, at 2.30 p.m., and would examine the draft programme of activities for 2008. The subsequent meeting would take place on Tuesday, 6 November 2007, at 10 a.m.
European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages – Second report of the Committee of Experts in respect of Denmark
Denmark attaches great importance to the work of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and Denmark welcomes its second report on the application of the Charter in Denmark.
The Charter applies to German in respect of the German minority in Southern Jutland. I would like to note that the second periodical report before its presentation in April 2006 was presented to the German-speakers In Southern Jutland for their comments in advance of its presentation. This consultation mechanism is in line with traditional Danish administrative procedures and illustrates the smooth relations between the German-speakers and the Danish authorities. By the way, there are - in round figures according to my information – around 10.000 people in that group of German speakers.
I do not intend to go into details concerning the second report. The expert committee welcomes developments on a number of important issues. It also raises some questions, where Denmark nevertheless is of the opinion that its commitments – as defined by the ratification of the Charter - have been fulfilled. I am instructed to refer explicitly to the Danish written remarks on Denmark’s undertakings in the field of radio and television (page 25 in the report). Naturally Denmark is willing to continue the positive dialogue also on this and the other subjects.
The ongoing contacts between the German minority in Southern Jutland and the Danish Authorities ensure that there is constant focus on the needs of the minority and their wishes in relation to the application of the provisions of the Charter.
Denmark takes note of the proposed recommendations (included with the sentence referring to the Danish written remarks - which by now is in square brackets). In its third report to the expert committee Denmark will explain in detail the more concrete considerations regarding the proposed 3 operative recommendations, and Denmark is looking forward to this exercise.
When the Committee of Ministers (Deputies) has finalized this round of monitoring by approving of a recommendation to Denmark, the Report and the recommendation will be published on the web-site of the MFA. A copy of this material will also be forwarded to the Danish Parliament (its Committee of Legal Affairs) for information.
Finally, we agree to CM-box treatment of the issue. Denmark intends – when the order of business is adopted on that CM-meeting is adopted – briefly to state its acceptance of this and orally refer to the remarks given here.
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.