Ministers’ Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Délégués des Ministres / Groupes de rapporteurs
Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation
Groupe de rapporteurs sur la coopération juridique
Rapporteur Group on Human Rights
Groupe de rapporteurs sur les droits de l’homme
GR-J(2009)CB6 / GR-H(2009)CB8 13 October 20091
Meeting of 6 October 2009
1. The Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR-H) and the Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J) held a joint meeting on 6 October 2009 in the presence of the TC-ENF to consider the following items:
Examination of the draft programme of activities for 2010 in the field of Human Rights and Rule of Law (+ Building a Europe for and with children)
CM(2009)130 vol2, CM(2009)67 – Draft Programme of Activities for 2010
2. This item was considered under the chairmanship of Ambassador Kuchar (Slovakia) who invited the representatives of the Secretariat concerned to give a brief presentation of the relevant parts of the draft programme of activities for 2010.
3. The Director General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs outlined the standard-setting activities envisaged within the Directorate General in the field of criminal law, private law, civil law and human rights. He then gave a presentation of the monitoring and co-operation activities.
4. Delegations which took the floor expressed their support for the proposals presented, which were an appropriate reflection of the Council’s priorities, strengthening the latter’s leadership role in the European arena in the field of human rights and the rule of law.
5. An emphasis was also placed by many delegations on the need to ensure sufficient funding for the monitoring bodies on the basis of the Ordinary Budget. In this regard, the Director General said that the proposals made sought to ensure that the monitoring bodies had the necessary resources to enable them to fully accomplish their task in 2010. However, as to GRETA, the resources would only enable this new monitoring mechanism to start some of its activities foreseen in 2010. The Director General confirmed that the resources for Moneyval had been increased, but he cautioned that in order for these two monitoring bodies (GRETA and Moneyval) to be able to operate properly in 2011, new proposals would have to be made in good time. In general terms, he drew the attention of the participants on the need to foresee, in the future, the necessary human and financial resources when the Committee of Ministers adopts a convention which entails the setting-up of a monitoring mechanism.
6. With regard more particularly to GRETA, the Group emphasised the high priority which should be given to the work of this monitoring body and called on the GR-PBA to increase as far as possible the resources made available for it in 2010.
7. In reply to a question on activities in the media field, the Director General said that the budgetary cuts in comparison with 2009 corresponded to a reduction in assistance programmes and confirmed that the development of activities in the field of new communication services should not affect the promotion of existing standards in the field of freedom of expression. One delegation thought that the “2010 indicators” and the “2010 milestones” in the “Media, information society and data protection” programme (I.3.5) could be reformulated.
8. More generally, several delegations thought that where there was a significant change in the resources allocated to a particular sector of activity in comparison with the previous year, the draft Programme of Activities should specify the reasons justifying the change.
9. In the technical co-operation field, the Director General noted that the relatively small proportion of the budget allocated to this field nevertheless enabled the Council to undertake a very large number of activities thanks to important additional extra-budgetary contributions. He stressed that in order to ensure this return on investment, a minimal amount should be foreseen in the ordinary budget for these activities.
10. One delegation underlined the importance of co-operation with other international organisations and the European Union.
11. The Group expressed its support for the activities planned for 2010 in the field of the fight against terrorism and international law, presented by the Director of Legal Advice and Public International Law. Several delegations thought it necessary to perpetuate or indeed step up these activities.
12. The Director General of Social Cohesion presented the “Building a Europe for and with children” line of action. Ambassador Ertman, Thematic Co-ordinator on Children (TC-ENF), welcomed the activities that were planned, stressing that they were fully in keeping with the three-year strategy (2009-2011) “Protection, provision and participation for children in Europe” adopted in Stockholm.
13. In reply to a question on the reduction of the budget for 2010, the Director General said that this could be explained in part by the limits in the absorption capacity of the Secretariat and by the fact that as the programme had been conceived as a cross-sectoral activity, other sectors in the Council would become more involved in the programme in 2010.
14. In the light of this information, one delegation wondered whether funding for the “children’s rights and social services” programme should be examined in the broader context of reflection on the resources allocated to GRETA in 2010.
15. The Director of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights outlined for participants the approach which the Commissioner intended to adopt for his activities in 2010. She pointed out that the Commissioner’s Budget was lower than in 2009 because of reductions relating to a joint programme which had come to an end (“peer-to-peer”) and because the 2009 grant for the Georgia-Russian Federation Action Plan had been a non-recurrent one. She said that the Office had been asked to put forward efficiency gains of 2% and that these had been incorporated into the draft 2010 budget. In addition, further to the Commissioner’s request for three additional A2/A3 posts to ensure continuity of his activities, the draft 2010 budget included an additional A2/A3 post for the Office. In reply to a question, she said that 15 member states were directly contributing to four projects to be funded by voluntary contributions.
16. In conclusion, the Chair said that the draft Programme would be discussed, as a next stage, at the GR-PBA on 22 October 2009. He said that he would report to the GR-PBA on the discussions at this meeting and that the present synopsis would be made available to participants.
26/09 29th Conference of the Council of Europe Ministers of Justice, “Breaking the silence – united against domestic violence” (Tromsø, Norway, 18-19 June 2009): Report of the Secretary General
17. This item was considered under the chairmanship of Ambassador Wille (Norway) who introduced the item and referred to the resolutions adopted at the 29th Conference of the Council of Europe Ministers of Justice.
18. The Chair noted that the Group was in favour of recommending adoption of the draft decisions and of forwarding them to the Deputies for adoption, without further debate, at their 1067th meeting (7 October 2009) (item placed in the box).
19. He said that a second set of more substantial decisions, would be considered at the next meeting of the GR-J.
Any other business
20. The Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR–H), with Ambassador Petter Wille, Permanent Representative of Norway, in the chair, considered the following items:
09/36 Draft second amending protocol to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ETS No. 132)
CM(2009)144, CM(2009)144 add1, CM(2009)144 add2, CM(2009)144 add3, CM(2009)144 add4
21. The GR-H considered the abridged report of the 44th meeting of the Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television (T-TT) held in Strasbourg on 11 and 12 June 2009, the draft second amending protocol to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ETS No. 132) and a number of documents associated with the latter. The Chair concluded that the Group was in favour of submitting this item to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1069th meeting, on 4 November 2009.
09/37 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services – “A new notion of media?” (28 and 29 May 2009, Reykjavik, Iceland) – Report by the Secretary General
22. The GR–H considered document CM(2009)143 containing the Secretary General’s report on the 1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services which took place in Reykjavik on 28 and 29 May 2009 at the invitation of the Icelandic Government. It also considered the associated draft decisions, which had been distributed under reference DD(2009)498. Following a discussion, the Chair concluded that the Group was in favour of recommending that the Deputies adopt the amended draft decisions (cf. CM/Notes/1068/4.4) at their 1068th meeting on 21 October 2009.
23. The Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J) considered the following items:
27/09 European Charter for regional or minority languages – Second evaluation report of the Committee of Experts in respect of Slovakia
24. The Group agreed that – in accordance with the Deputies’ internal rules of procedure – this item would be considered under the ad hoc chairmanship of Ambassador Wille, Chair of the GR-H.
25. The Chair invited the Group to consider the report as it appears in document CM(2009)133, and drew the participants’ attention to a proposed amendment to the draft recommendation presented by the Hungarian delegation (DD(2009)494).
26. The Croatian and Slovakian delegations expressed their support for the original draft recommendation drawn up by the Committee of Experts.
27. The Hungarian delegation presented its amendment.
28. Mr Stefan Oeter, Chair of the Committee of Experts on the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, said that the report reflected the situation as it was at the time of the visit, i.e. in March 2009. He said that subsequent developments (such as the adoption on 30 June 2009 of amendments to the Law on the official use of the Slovak language) would be carefully examined by the Committee in a forthcoming report on the Slovak Republic. He also confirmed the concerns expressed by the Committee in its second evaluation report (and indeed in the first) over the law in question prior to the adoption of the amendments.
29. The Hungarian delegation felt that there was a structural weakness in the monitoring mechanisms and maintained that the Committee of Ministers could legitimately amend the proposal by the Committee of Experts to take account of new developments since the visit.
30. One delegation suggested that there be a separate discussion within the Rapporteur Group on whether a monitoring body – such as the Committee of experts – could be asked for an opinion outside the context of the ordinary monitoring procedure. It was also pointed out that the Venice Commission had already been asked to give an opinion on the contentious amendments to the Law on the official use of the Slovak language.
31. Following the discussion, the Chair noted that there was support from no other delegation for the proposed amendment and concluded that the report would be transmitted to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1068th meeting (21 October 2009).
20/09 European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ)
a. Committee of Experts on Family Law (CJ-FA) – Draft terms of reference for 2010
32. The Group agreed to transmit the draft terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on Family Law (CJ-FA), as they appear in document CM(2009)119, to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decision at their 1068th meeting (21 October 2009).
33. The Chair said that at the request of one delegation, this item would not be included on the list of items to be dealt with possibly without further debate.
21/09 Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI)
a. Abridged report of the 36th meeting (Madrid, 27-29 April 2009)
b. Draft terms of reference
c. Report of the launching Session of the Conference on Biomedical Research Ethics in Countries with an Emerging or Developing Economy
34. The Group considered the different texts submitted by the CDBI (see CM(2009)121 and CM(2009)121 addendum), following its meeting in April 2009, and decided to transmit them to the Deputies for adoption of the relevant decisions at their 1068th meeting (21 October 2009) without further debate (item placed in the box).
24/09 “Private military and security firms and the erosion of the state monopoly on the use of force” – Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1858 (2009)
REC_1858 (2009), CDL-AD(2009)038
35. The Chair introduced the item and referred to the report by the Venice Commission on “private military and security firms and erosion of the state monopoly on the use of force” (see CDL-AD(2009)038).
36. One delegation proposed that this report not be transmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly as a reply to Recommendation 1858 (2009). The Group expressed its support for this proposal.
37. The Group agreed to ask the Deputies to invite the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) and the Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) to study the suggestions made by the Venice Commission in its report. It also instructed the Secretariat to prepare a draft reply to Recommendation 1858 (2009) reflecting that decision, for adoption by the Deputies.
Any other business
Date of the next meeting
GR-H: Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 10 a.m.
GR-J: Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 10 a.m.
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.