Information Documents

    SG/Com(2003)851
    9 September 2003


    ————————————————
    Communication by the Secretary General

    and the Deputy Secretary General
    to the 851st meeting of the
    Ministers' Deputies

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    List of items

    Communication by the Secretary General

    1. European Symposium “University and Church in Europe”, Rome, 17 July
    2. Permanent Council of OSCE, Vienna, 24 July
    3. 5th UN-Regional Organizations High-Level meeting, New York, 29-30 July and official meetings in Washington, 31 July
    4. 7th Renovabis International Congress in Freising, Germany, 27 August
    5. Official visit to the Czech Republic (Prague), 1-2 September
    6. Official contacts in Moscow and visit to Krasnoyarsk, 4-6 September
    7. Meetings of the Bureau and the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly, 8 September
    8. Private office of the Secretary General
    9. Placement of national officials at the disposal of the Council of Europe
    10. Council of Europe Field Offices
    11. Future visits
    12. Staff matters (in camera)

    Communication by the Deputy Secretary General

    1. Official launch of the European Heritage Days 2003, Dublin and Glendalough, Co Wicklow, 5-6 September

    2. Future visits

    1. European Symposium “University and Church in Europe”, Rome, 17 July

    On 17 July in Rome I gave a statement on “The role and responsibility of the University and the Church in creating a culture of tolerance and citizenship in Europe”.

    This symposium was organised by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE), the Italian Bishops Conference Episcopal Commission for Education in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education on the occasion of the 7th Centenary of the Foundation of the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.

    2. Permanent Council of OSCE, Vienna, 24 July

    As part of the regular co-ordination meetings between our two Organisations, on 24 July I visited the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna.

    During the visit, I addressed the Permanent Council of the OSCE (my statement is attached as Appendix I) and took part in the ensuing discussion, which focused on a number of mutually-reinforcing co-operation issues, notably with regard to South-East Europe, South Caucasus, the situation in Chechnya and Belarus, as well as trafficking in human beings and organised crime.

    I subsequently had discussions with OSCE Secretary General Jan Kubis and Ambassador Justus J. de Visser, the Dutch Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE Permanent Council. We discussed the preparation of the next 2+2/3+3 High Level Meeting in November 2003, and the Tripartite High-Level Meeting to be hosted by the OSCE in February 2004 in Vienna. Mr Kubis and I agreed on the idea to devote the next Tripartite Target-Oriented Meeting to be held at the same time to co-operation between the OSCE, the UN and the Council of Europe in the South Caucasus. This was subsequently also agreed to by the Director General of the UN Office in Geneva when we met him in New York at the end of July.

    3. 5th UN-Regional Organizations High-Level meeting, New York, 29 – 30 July and official meetings in Washington, 31 July

    On 29 and 30 July 2003, I attended the 5th UN-Regional Organizations High-Level Meeting, chaired by the UN Secretary General, on co-operation between the UN and Regional Organisations in responding to challenges to international peace and security and in particular to international terrorism. In my contributions, I highlighted the specific human rights component of the Council of Europe's work in this respect which was taken into account in the final declaration adopted.

    In my meeting with Mr Kofi Annan, I discussed the Cyprus issue and informed him of the useful contacts that had taken place in Strasbourg between representatives of 18 political parties from both Cypriot communities.

    We further discussed the possible contribution by the Council of Europe to the reconstruction efforts in Iraq, making use of the our Organisation's expertise in preparing constitutional and legislative reforms, as well as in democratic institution-building, and the protection of the cultural heritage. I also reminded Mr Annan of the invitation of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly to address the Assembly at one of its forthcoming sessions (January or April 2004).

    On 31 July, I met in Washington with the United States' Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Mrs Elizabeth Jones. We had a most fruitful discussion on a variety of issues of common interest, including Iraq, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Moldova.

    With regard to Iraq, Mrs Jones drew attention to the need for assistance in a number of areas such as education, health and food. She would welcome any co-operation the Council of Europe could give in its areas of competence, in particular with regard to police training in human rights, in co-operation with the OSCE. I suggested that, in a UN context, the Council could provide useful advice on the setting up of democratic institutions with the help of the Venice Commission. Mrs Jones thought it important that Ambassador Bremer be made aware of these possibilities.

    On the same day, I had a meeting with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Mr César Gaviria Trujillo, accompanied by the Deputy Secretary General, Mr Luigi G. Einaudi.

    The co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Organization of American States is based on an agreement from 1967, as updated in 1987. The co-operation between the two organisations focuses essentially on human rights, legal matters, corruption and drug abuse.

    We exchanged views on our respective Organisations' activities in the fight against terrorism, corruption, cyber-crime, and on human rights, including the abolition of the death penalty. I also invited Mr Gaviria to visit the Council of Europe. He accepted this invitation.

    My meeting with the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General was followed by a Round Table with the participation of senior officials of the OAS when we discussed co-operation with their respective services on matters of common interest.

    4. 7th Renovabis International Congress in Freising, Germany, 27 August

    On 27 August 2003, I participated in the 7th Renovabis International Congress in Freising, Germany, where I gave a speech on “Migration in Europe – Opportunity or Danger?”

    All the relevant representatives of the Council of Europe's 45 Member States participating agreed that properly regulated immigration was necessary for economic and social well-being. The demographic trends, the ageing population and the economic needs in Europe will sooner or later put pressure on the national authorities to reconsider their present restrictive approach to immigration.

    To help manage the flows of migrants, the Council of Europe favours the creation of a data collecting agency which would facilitate coherent decision-making in countries of origin, transit and destination.

    5. Official visit to the Czech Republic (Prague), 1-2 September
    During my official visit to the Czech Republic on 1 – 2 September 2003, I met President of the Republic Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Wladimir Spidla, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cyril Svoboda, Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament Lubomír Zaorálek, First Deputy Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament, Přenysl Sobotka, as well as other high-level officials.
    The Czech authorities recognised the Council of Europe's contribution to the process of their country's accession to EU and stressed that the Council would continue to play a major role after the EU enlargement, in particular in the fields of legal cooperation, human rights protection, culture and education at the pan-European level.
    It was also stressed that enlargement would most probably lead to EU's having a more active role within the Council of Europe and the Council's adapting its working methods, taking into account a rapidly changing architecture of European institutions.
    Wladimir Spidla told me of his concerns about general trends in the bioethics field, the questions they raised and the risk of abuses. He hoped that the Council of Europe would expand its oversight role and offer early responses to these scientific developments.

    6. Official contacts in Moscow and visit to Krasnoyarsk, 4-6 September

    On 4 and 5 September 2003, I had political talks, in particular on future co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation, with Vladimir Yakovlev, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, as well as with Deputy Foreign Minister, Vladimir Chizhov and others.

    I also presented the Russian version of my book “The Dream of Europe” at the international Moscow Book Fair on 5 September 2003. This presentation was followed by a press conference on the premises of the Russian Exhibition Centre.
     
    On 6 September, at the invitation of the Mayor of Krasnoyarsk, Pyotr Pimashkov, I took part in celebrations on the occasion of the 375th anniversary of the city.

    7. Meetings of the Bureau and the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly, 8 September
    I will make an oral statement on these meetings.

    8. Private Office of the Secretary General
    Following the return of Mrs Verena Taylor to my Private Office from Belgrade, where she was Special Envoy for 15 months, there have been some changes to the distribution of tasks. These changes came into effect on 1 September 2003 and are attached at Appendix II for your information.

    9. Placement of national officials at the disposal of the Council of Europe

    Further to the Secretary General's call for candidates at your 833rd meeting, I am pleased to announce the placement of Ms Leen LACONTE, a Belgian national, at the disposal of the Directorate General IV – Youth and Sport, who will take up her duties shortly.

    Ms Laconte has extensive professional experience in the youth field, both on a national and an international level.

    I should like to thank the Belgian authorities for this generous offer.

    10. Council of Europe Field Offices

    I have the pleasure to inform you that the Austrian authorities, following our request, have offered to extend the secondment of Dr Sonia Moser-Starrach, my Special Representative in Sarajavo, for an additional year until 31 August 2004.

    As Dr Moser-Starrach's placement extends beyond the 3 years foreseen by Resolution (92) 26, I propose a derogation from this requirement.

    11. Future visits

    Chisinau - opening of the International Conference on “Frozen Conflicts in Europe - the approach of democratic security: the case of Transnistria”, 11 September

    Lucerne: European Cultural Foundation: Europäische Kulturpreisverleihungen und Europäisches Friedens-Kultur-Forum, 12-13 September

    Stuttgart: opening of the Colloquy on “Foreigners' integration and participation in local life in European cities” (CLRAE), 15 September

    12. Staff matters (in camera)

    Communication by the Deputy Secretary General
    1. Official launch of the European Heritage Days 2003, Dublin and Glendalough, Co Wicklow, 5-6 September

    On 5 and 6 September, I represented the Council of Europe at the official launching ceremony of the European Heritage Days (EHD) in Dublin and Glendalough, Ireland.

    The European Heritage Days is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union. All 48 countries party to the European Cultural Convention will take part in this year's European Heritage Days celebrations.

    The events kicked off on 5 September in Dublin Castle with a Press Conference attended by Mr Noel Ahern, TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. This was followed by a colloquy of the EHD co-ordinators, who discussed how to improve access to heritage for disabled people. This colloquy was opened by Mr Eddie O'Hara, MP, General Rapporteur on Cultural Heritage of the Parliamentary Assembly.

    The morning of 6 September was devoted to the Conference “On the edge of Europe – in the heart of a continent”, organised by the Irish authorities, which explored the contribution that Ireland has made to European Culture. That afternoon, together with Mr Pat the Cope Gallagher, TD, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, I launched the Days at the site of a former 6th century monastery in Glendalough, a picturesque valley south of Dublin. The text of my address is attached as Appendix III.

    I should like to thank Ministers Gallagher and Ahern for their warm hospitality and their collaborators for the excellent organisation of this year's launch. I also take this opportunity to wish all the participating countries every success with the events being organised within the framework of this initiative.

    2. Future visits
    Ljubljana: 13th Session of the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Regional Planning, 16 September

    Appendix I

    OSCE Permanent Council
    (Vienna, 24 July 2003)

    Statement by the Secretary General
    of the Council of Europe


    As we meet here this morning a joint Council of Europe – OSCE team of independent experts is in Podgorica looking into human trafficking, an issue which is high on the agenda of both our organisations. An issue which is amongst the major challenges to our societies and to the effectiveness of our common multilateral action.

    Therefore, in the shameful case of a Moldovan victim of human trafficking in Montenegro we swiftly agreed to take joint action. Secretary General Kubis and I, together, informed the Montenegran authorities by letter that we were ready to appoint a team of independent experts to assess the conformity of the criminal proceedings in this case with prevailing national and international standards and also to make recommendations for future action in the fight against trafficking in human beings.

    The ability to act together swiftly and decisively is the cornerstone for an effective partnership between European institutions in the newly emerged European landscape. It is also a prerequisite for conflict-prevention, peace building and the strengthening of democratic stability, which should be the leitmotif of all our activities. The annual meeting between senior officials of our two organisations, on 11 July in Strasbourg has clearly shown, both the still important scope of our common agenda and the further consolidation of our common strategies and activities, in close coordination with the European Union.

    For its part, the Council of Europe is continuing to play a major role in consolidating democracy and the rule of law in our member states. Our aim is to strengthen our mechanisms for the protection of human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and to elaborate common policies and standards to meet the challenges facing Europe in the 21st century.

    On 3 April 2003 we welcomed Serbia and Montenegro as the 45th member State of the Council of Europe. This completed the accession of all South East European countries to our Organisation.

    At the session in May of the Committee of Ministers, the Ministers underlined the Council's essential role in building a Europe without dividing lines which, they said, could be further elaborated at a Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, to be held between the autumn of 2004 and the spring of 2005.

    Ministers also adopted a declaration on guaranteeing the long-term effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights.

    It is rewarding in this context, that the Convention on the Future of Europe underlined the importance of our shared values by introducing in the draft treaty on the European Union a provision which stipulates that the EU shall seek accession to the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Both the Council of Europe and the EU favour a common legal area in Europe through continent-wide legal co-operation and harmonisation. There are questions and challenges which need a continent-wide approach. The Schengen Agreement, for example, cannot solve migration problems throughout the whole of Europe. Such questions call for pan-European, and sometimes even broader, solutions. For instance, we need the non-European countries, where the migration chain begins, to join us around the table if we are to tackle migration properly.

    An important new development in this respect is that the Committee of Ministers has decided to create a political platform for regular dialogue on migration issues with sending, transit and destination countries which will meet twice a year. At our Quadripratite meeting with the European Union, on 19 June, we agreed that the regular rhythm of such contacts was an important feature to keep in mind in the context of the EU enlargement as well as in the framework of the Barcelona Process.

    Trafficking in human beings not only is it an intolerable affront to human dignity but it is also a threat to stability and security throughout Europe. The CoE therefore fully supports the priorities of the Dutch OSCE Chairmanship to target all forms of trafficking.

    The CoE will prepare a European Convention against trafficking in human beings as a binding legal instrument requiring states that have not yet done so, to criminalise the trafficking of human beings in their national legislation. The Convention, which is intended to build on the United Nations' achievements in this area, will be geared towards the protection of victims' rights and respect for their dignity. It will also aim at a proper balance between matters concerning human rights and prosecution, improve existing mechanisms of international co-operation (including “cyber-trafficking”) and set up an independent monitoring mechanism.

    Trafficking, as well as organised crime are important issues for the Council of Europe, the EU, and the OSCE to tackle together. Money laundering and corruption are related problems which call for joint action. The Council of Europe has instruments and agreements in all these areas.

    Turning now to the threat of terrorism, the Council of Europe's Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight Against Terrorism, as well as the OSCE Charter on Prevention and Combating Terrorism, clearly demonstrate both organisations' commitment in this area which has become one of their main priorities for current and future action.

    On 15 May 2003 the Protocol amending the European Convention for the suppression of terrorism was opened for signature. This Protocol allows accession also by non member States to this important instrument to strengthen international cooperation. The Protocol also updates this Convention in that it depoliticises for the purpose of seeking extradition all the offences covered by existing universal anti-terrorist Conventions and Protocols.

    Our Parliamentary Assembly recommends the elaboration of a comprehensive European Convention on Combating Terrorism to complement instruments and principles elaborated by the United Nations and the OSCE in this area. It would deal, inter alia, with special investigation techniques and protection of witnesses and "pentiti" in relation to acts of terrorism, as well as the fight against the sources of the financing of terrorism. There is a real need to have not only a politically, but also a legally binding comprehensive document on this issue.

    In order to address those factors which fuel terrorism and to overcome the clash of ignorance about various cultures and religions the Council of Europe favours fostering increased intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. Increased contacts with world-wide, as well as regional and sub-regional organisations in neighbouring areas favour information exchanges on best practices, codes and standards and should lead to practical cooperation and joint activities. Our two organisations have embarked in this dialogue with the partners of the Arab League and the OIC.

    Turning back to the CoE's role in fostering Europe-wide democracy, human rights and the rule of law, the recent EU-Thessaloniki Summit particularly highlighted the European perspective of the whole of South-East-Europe. In this context, CoE norms and standards are benchmarks for the implementation of the EU strategy in the Balkans. This has been stressed at our Quadripartite meeting with the EU in underlining the substantial contribution the CoE can make to this strategy for the Balkans, now that all countries of SEE are members of the organisation.

    Since Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the Council of Europe in April 2002, the Council continues to implement the post-accession cooperation programme tailored to meet its membership needs with an appropriate monitoring procedure. We are fully supporting the country's on-going efforts to build up its democratic institutions, in particular in the areas of the judiciary and the local self-government indispensable to support sustainable return. We fully support Bosnia and Herzegovina efforts in fighting organised crime and corruption. These are the keys for institutional and economic reforms and to rebuild national confidence in the political leadership. Our cooperation with the OSCE-mission is excellent, in particular in the crucial field of education. The visit to Strasbourg last May by the Head of Mission, Ambassador Beecroft, provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the scope of this cooperation.

    Accession to the CoE is considered to be a major step in the process of Serbia and Montenegro's integration into Europe and a major incentive to pursue democratic reforms at all levels. In this context the CoE post-accession strategy, i.e. targeted cooperation programme and specific monitoring, is highly relevant for setting benchmarks and sustain their implementation. The visit to Strasbourg last April by the OSCE Head of Mission, Ambassador Massari, was important to strengthen and coordinate our joint efforts and activities to this end.

    We could already consider, last week, together with our friends from Serbia and Montenegro progress and necessary efforts on the basis of a first quarterly report. Cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) remains a high priority, as an essential element for reconciliation and consolidated cooperation with neighbouring countries. The future monitoring of human rights commitments in Kosovo is a major concern for us. In particular we want to see the full application of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture with the unrestricted right of the Anti-Torture-Committee to visit all detention facilities. As part of the cooperation with UNMIK, the CoE Mission on decentralisation pursues its efforts in strengthening local self government institutions in the province, with a view to gathering as broad support as possible from all concerned parties on proposals for equitable and effective local democracy at municipal level.

    In close co-operation with the EU-Special Representative in Skopje, the Council is continuing to provide expertise to the authorities of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", in the full implementation of the Ohrid Agreement with regard to all matters related to decentralisation.

    The situation in the Caucasus remains a major political concern. Based on the dual logic of assistance with reforms and monitoring the honouring of commitments, we make significant efforts for this region, which remains a zone of tensions and unresolved conflicts with negative implications for its democratic development, as well as social and economic progress.

    2003 is a crucial election year in the three Caucasian Republics. The elections in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are essential tests of pluralist democratic development in the region. Unfortunately the joint overall assessment by the CoE and the OSCE, which was also shared by the European Union, pointed out that presidential and parliamentary elections in Armenia failed to meet international standards in several key areas.

    We all hope that lessons will be drawn by Georgia and Azerbaijan in the preparation of their elections later this year. Joint efforts of our two organisations with our partners in the two countries, are under way on subjects such as the improvement of electoral systems and election observation, as well as a fair and in particular also free election campaign, including in the media.

    Two and a half years ago Armenia and Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe. Since then, they integrated into the organisation's work and the Committee of Ministers continues to implement the post-accession monitoring procedure. Only two weeks ago a delegation visited both Yerevan and Baku to discuss implementation matters.

    While there has been progress in both countries, democratic reforms faltered in 2002. We certainly do not underestimate the difficulties involved, but there is an urgent need for increased efforts to honour commitments as fundamental as the abolition of the death penalty in Armenia and the fair solution for alleged political prisoners still being held in Azerbaijan. I would like to underline once again, that we attach high importance in both countries to the independence of media and freedom of expression, not only in pre-election times and not only in theory, but also in practice. Just yesterday I expressed publicly my concerns about the TV-licensing practice in Armenia.

    The CoE is aware that the failure to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is hindering the development of the two countries. It is undermining a true regional cooperation process. The Council of Europe contributes through confidence-building projects to the improvement of relations between the two countries. Our Venice Commission stands ready to provide the Minsk Group with expertise on questions related to the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh.

    Like its two neighbours, Georgia is suffering from unresolved conflicts that are compromising its democratic development. Specific cooperation programmes, including joint programmes with the European Commission, focus on preparation of the parliamentary elections, the functioning of the judicial system and the law-enforcement agencies, as well as on the fight against corruption. The compliance with these commitments and obligations is followed by a regular monitoring procedure of the Committee of Ministers. Two weeks ago a delegation of the Ministers' Deputies visited Tbilisi to discuss the state of progress in these priority areas.

    The large scope of specific cooperation programmes between the CoE and the Russian Federation, including important matters such as improvement of the judiciary, human rights implementation, education, role of the federal subjects, including Kaliningrad, as well as the consideration of Europe-wide challenges such as the fight against terrorism and free movement of persons, show our close partnership in the consolidation of the countries' legal and democratic reforms and in contributing to the solution of problems common to all of us in the new and wider Europe. The situation in Chechnya, however, remains a concern. I welcome political initiatives taken by the federal authorities, and President Putin himself, following the adoption of a Chechen constitution (including the preparation of elections and the adoption of a resolution on amnesty). I hope that this will promote the restoration of the rule of law and a radical improvement of the human rights situation in the Republic, leading to an equitable political solution based on national reconciliation.

    Halting of terrorist and suicide-acts on the one side and halting the disappearance of people and curbing impunity on the other, are such pre-conditions for mutual trust and reconciliation.

    Against this background, and in spite of the current difficult security situation – following a bombing incident involving CoE experts in Chechnya on 21 April 2003 which forced me to withdraw the CoE team – I agreed with Foreign Minister Ivanov to prolong the mandate of our experts until the 4 January 2004. We will continue to implement in the direct neighbourhood additional tasks for Chechnya such as training in electoral matters, in human rights, in psychological rehabilitation, as well as in law enforcement and local self-government. Continued assistance should also be provided to the Office of the Special Representative of President Putin in Grozny, including training of its staff.

    We welcome the efforts of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in Office to reach an agreement with the Russian authorities on developing long-term OSCE technical co-operation in Chechnya based on the real needs of the local population and on OSCE expertise and experience. Close co-ordination of our respective involvements in Chechnya strikes me as essential for both organisations.

    Presidential elections will take place on 5 October 2003. The Council of Europe, i.e. its Parliamentary Assembly and Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, may be invited to observe, as may be the OSCE/ODIHR and its Parliamentary Assembly. It seems to me, that only a tremendous change in the security situation will allow to fulfil such observation missions under normal conditions. I hope that we will come to a common assessment of the feasibility of election observation which then will be followed by both our organisations.

    CoE cooperation with Moldova, which currently holds the chair of the Committee of Ministers, has been particularly close and fruitful. Based on texts adopted by our Parliamentary Assembly in April and June 2002 we developed a targeted cooperation programme to reach compliance with CoE standards in the areas of democratic institutions, including a new law on local self-governments, basic rights, operation of state electronic media, and freedom of religion, including compliance with rulings of the ECHR. In order to strengthen the spirit and the reality of pluralist democracy, by channelling and improving the political and civic dialogue in the country. I took the initiative of a reform of the “Round Table” to make it more structured and result oriented. Amongst the first results of the new round-table of representatives of political parties and NGO representatives as observers, we welcomed the consensus reached to recommend reform of parliamentary procedure.

    With regard to the political settlement of the situation in Transnistria, I welcome the establishment of the Joint Constitutional Commission to speed up this process. The Council of Europe Venice Commission has been made an advisory body to this Commission and participated in this week's session in Bender.

    As part of the Moldovan Chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe is supporting a Conference in Chisinau in September on "Frozen conflicts in Europe - the democratic security approach - the case of Transnistria". The purpose of the conference is to complement the OSCE led international efforts to find a solution to this conflict.

    The Head of the OSCE mission in Chisinau, Ambassador Hill, held an exchange of views with the Ministers' Deputies last April in Strasbourg and he continues to be a permanent interlocutor on the spot or in contact with the Secretariat in Strasbourg.

    The CoE is continuing to provide active support for democratic reform in Ukraine. While we welcome the first results of our action plan on media reform, we believe that full media freedom could be pursued with greater expediency and determination. We are also providing expertise for the adoption of new laws on non-interference in the activity of the media and on the protection of journalists. Further efforts on these matters are also promoted through a joint programme with the European Commission.

    We all welcomed the resumption of OSCE activities in Belarus and expressed the hope that this will contribute to the country's future integration into the community of European institutions. During a visit by Ambassador Heyken to Strasbourg last June, we agreed on full coordination and cooperation to this end with his Mission in Minsk.

    Unfortunately, most recent news from Belarus have been mostly negative with some major opposition newspapers being suspended under non-democratic procedures and with the shutting down of the Office of Russia's NTV.

    We strongly urge Minsk to step-up efforts to bring into force a draft media law, taking into account the results of the evaluation of the situation by the CoE and the OSCE. The CoE remains keen to see Belarus take its rightful place in Europe, as a country with properly functioning democratic institutions, and human rights protection, with full freedom of activity for civil society representatives.

    Let me finish with a reference to our joint commitment to sub-regional co-operation. It was exemplified by the participation of OSCE representatives in the CoE working Meeting of Representatives of Regional Mechanisms on 24-25 October 2002 in Strasbourg and in the Meeting of regional and sub-regional organisations on fighting corruption and organised crime on 10-11 June 2003 in Vilnius. Both meetings were organised as a follow-up to the Vilnius Declaration on Regional Co-operation and the Consolidation of Democratic Stability in Greater Europe adopted by the Committee of Ministers in May 2002. Both meetings constituted a good mechanism for increased exchanges of information, better co-ordination of activities and sharing best practices and lessons learned.

    There are on-going inter-secretariat discussions on establishing pragmatic modalities for the organisation of future meetings with sub-regional organisations in order to avoid duplication and make the best use of the limited resources available for this work in our two Organisations.

    The 3 + 3 CoE-OSCE meeting at senior official level in Strasbourg on 11 July has shown that over recent years our co-operation has brought added value to the relations between our Organisations. This stems from our joint capacity to promote our shared values and standards. We have successfully maintained the lines of communication both between our headquarters and between our respective presences in the field. This result-oriented co-operation is exemplary in many respects: working together in Sarajevo and Belgrade, in Baku, Yerevan and most recently in Tbilisi or even in Chechnya. Co-ordinating action in combating terrorism and trafficking in human beings, on election issues and the judiciary. We have managed to build up a partnership for multilateral action, based on consultations, co-ordination, complementary action and shared commitments. This includes: exchanges of information and meetings at different levels, joint assessment missions (e.g. in Chechnya, Moldova, Armenia), development of common projects and field missions, joint training activities etc.

    I very much hope that this interaction will continue in the future and expand, in particular, in the Balkans and in a number of CIS countries in order to achieve greater synergy, especially in the legal field. I look forward to our forthcoming “3+3” High-level meeting in the autumn, in Chisinau, as another opportunity to carry our work forward.

    Finally I would like to wish you all a very pleasant summer break and I look forward to seeing you again either here in Vienna or in Strasbourg.

    Appendix II
    Jan KLEIJSSEN – Director of Private Office

    · Committee of Ministers
    · Parliamentary Assembly
    · Executive Board
    · DGAP – Directorate General of Political Affairs
    · DSP - Directorate of Strategic Planning

    Paul DEWAGUET – Deputy Director of Private Office

    · Adviser to the Deputy Secretary General
    · DGII - Directorate General of Human Rights (except European Audiovisual Observatory)
    · Commissioner for Human Rights
    · European Court of Human Rights

    Verena TAYLOR

    · DGIV - Directorate General for Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, including the Partial Agreements Eurimages, EUR-OPA, European Centre for Modern Languages and Youth Card
    · Monitoring Department (DSP)
    · Field Offices
    · Integrated Projects

    Alexander BARTLING

    · DGIII - Directorate General for Social Cohesion, including the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines
    · CLRAE – Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe
    · Cooperation for local and regional democracy (DGI)
    · European Audiovisual Observatory (DGII)
    · Adviser for specific questions

    Tina MULCAHY

    · DGAL - Directorate General of Administration and Logistics (except budgetary matters and Finance Directorate)
    · Protocol
    · Relations with the Staff Committee and Trade Unions
    · Appointments Board – transfers, recruitment and promotion panels
    · “Comité de Pilotage” “Strasbourg-Ville européenne”

    Elda MORENO

    · DGI - Directorate General of Legal Affairs, including the Venice Commission (except Cooperation for local and regional democracy)
    · DCR - Directorate of Communication and Research, including Secretary General's Web Site
    · North-South Centre (Lisbon) including Euro-med questions
    · Combating Trafficking in Human Beings
    · Equality questions

    Matthew BARR

    · Budgetary matters – Finance Directorate
    · Programme of activities – Directorate of Strategic Planning
    · Council of Europe Development Bank
    · Internal Audit

    Further to these tasks, Private Office members will follow Parliamentary Assembly Committees, and the relevant Rapporteur Groups and discussions in the Committee of Ministers' Deputies, concerning fields of activities which are under their responsibility at intergovernmental level.

    Jan KLEIJSSEN - Directeur du Cabinet

    · Comité des Ministres
    · Assemblée parlementaire
    · Conseil exécutif
    · DGAP – Direction générale des Affaires politiques
    · DSP – Direction de la Planification stratégique

    Paul DEWAGUET – Directeur adjoint du cabinet

    · Conseiller auprès de la Secrétaire Générale Adjointe
    · DGII – Direction générale des Droits de l'Homme (sauf l'Observatoire européen de l'Audiovisuel)
    · Commissaire aux Droits de l'Homme
    · Cour européenne des Droits de l'Homme

    Verena TAYLOR

    · DGIV – Direction générale Éducation, Culture et Patrimoine, Jeunesse et Sport, y compris les Accords partiels Eurimages, EUR-OPA, Centre européen pour les Langues vivantes et Carte Jeune
    · Service du « monitoring » (DSP)
    · Bureaux décentralisés
    · Projets intégrés

    Alexander BARTLING

    · DGIII – Direction générale Cohésion sociale, y compris la Direction européenne de la Qualité du Médicament
    · CPLRE – Congrès des pouvoirs locaux et régionaux de l'Europe
    · Coopération pour la démocratie locale et régionale (DGI)
    · Observatoire européen de l'Audiovisuel (DGII)
    · Conseiller pour certaines questions

    Tina MULCAHY

    · DGAL – Direction générale de l'Administration et de la Logistique (sauf les questions budgétaires et la Direction des Finances)
    · Protocole
    · Relations avec le Comité du Personnel et les syndicats
    · Comité des nominations – transferts, jurys de recrutement et de promotion
    · Comité de Pilotage « Strasbourg – Ville européenne »

    Elda MORENO

    · DGI – Direction générale des Affaires juridiques, y compris la Commission de Venise (sauf la coopération pour la démocratie locale et régionale)
    · DCR – Direction de la Communication et de la Recherche, y compris le site Internet du Secrétaire Général
    · Centre Nord-Sud (Lisbonne), y compris les questions euro-méditerranéennes
    · Lutte contre le trafic d'êtres humains
    · Questions d'égalité

    Matthew BARR

    · Questions budgétaires – Direction des Finances
    · Programme d'activités – Direction de la planification stratégique
    · Banque de Développement du Conseil de l'Europe
    · Audit interne

    En plus de ces tâches, les membres du Cabinet suivront les travaux des commissions de l'Assemblée parlementaire, ceux des groupes de rapporteurs pertinents et les discussions des Délégués des Ministres en rapport avec les domaines d'activité relevant de leurs attributions respectives au niveau intergouvernemental.

    Appendix III

    Address of Mrs Maud de BOER-BUQUICCHIO
    Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
    at the official launch of the
    European Heritage Days 2003
    Dublin & Glendalough

    Minister (s),
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Imagine that you have lost your memory. You do not remember your childhood; you do not recognise your loved ones, your home, your personal belongings. You have no idea how you became the person you see in the mirror. Everything seems strange and everything scares you. You have lost your identity …

    Amnesia of peoples is just as cruel and dangerous as amnesia of individuals. However, we possess a very precious tool which testifies to our past and helps us to build our future : that is our heritage. This heritage is an opportunity, but also a responsibility. We should protect it, share it and hand it down.

    Our heritage is made up of the dreams of many individuals, peoples and generations. Through our cultural heritage, we can really feel the aspirations, the creativity, the strength and the determination of those who put their talents to the service of an idea or a project. The way nature inspires the artists is just one evidence of the importance of our natural heritage, our relations with nature going well beyond our needs as a species.

    A proof of this? Just look around you. Look at this valley of the two lakes, experience the beauty of this environment full of history and spirituality, imagine the wind carrying the prayers of the pilgrims to the tops of the trees, walk the paths and follow their footprints… Such places have a particularity: you never feel like a foreigner because they belong to you as you belong to them. That's precisely the idea behind the slogan that brought us here today: “Europe, a common heritage”.

    During the weekends of September, the European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union, give millions of citizens across the continent – in fact, in every single one of the 48 countries of the European Cultural Convention – the opportunity to discover monuments and sites which are usually closed to the public, and to take part in a variety of special activities.

    This awareness-raising event also serves to highlight the Council of Europe's mission to develop better understanding of the shared values which underpin our cultural heritage - "Europe: a common heritage" is the permanent slogan of the European Heritage Days – as well as to bring about lasting improvements to people's quality of life and to draw attention to the centuries of common history that are reflected in our shared heritage.

    With its great diversity and richness, heritage constitutes one of the essential components of the multiple identities of Europe: it is a medium for collective memory and a remarkable instrument for the promotion of mutual knowledge, understanding and acceptance among different communities, which is itself one of the pre-requisites for preventing conflict and war. The Council's work on heritage is therefore a fundamental part of its mission.

    The European Heritage Days also create opportunities for experimentation with citizenship, voluntary work and partnership, and with innovative approaches to the sharing of responsibility. In this way they illustrate the dynamism of civil society, which is in itself a measure of a society's level of democracy.

    The success of the European Heritage Days can be attributed not only to the involvement of government bodies, but also to the enthusiasm of private organisations and institutions as well as many thousands of volunteers.

    We are extremely grateful to the Irish authorities for hosting this official ceremony, which underlines the common European dimension and spirit of these Heritage Days.

    Ireland, a country which is particularly representative of the European cross-fertilisation of cultures, has such a long and rich history from the prehistoric age to the present day. Ireland has enjoyed such strong links with the rest of Europe through the ages, starting with the Celts - widespread across the continent - who arrived in Ireland some 2300 years ago with common elements of culture and society. I would particularly like to pay tribute to the Irish involvement in the growth of Europe and the significant Irish contribution to European civilisation and history, as well as the impact of its migrating culture on other groups.

    In these magnificent surroundings, we should remember what Europe owes to the Irish monks and to their Christianity grown from their Celtic roots, carrying concepts which seem very contemporary to us, such as equality between men and women.

    With their labour in copying all of Western literature, they made a highly significant contribution to our civilisation, and they are still present in Europe with the monasteries – great learning institutions at their time – they founded and the cities and villages named after them, like St Gall in Switzerland, San Colombano in Italy, St Gobain and St Fiacre in France…They also ventured out into the North Atlantic - the Norse sagas suggest that they were even in Iceland - and possibly even travelled across the Atlantic and back!

    Ireland was one of the very first countries to actively participate in the European Heritage Days, and now the Days appear to us as a model of transborder co-operation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Furthermore, the choice of sites has managed to successfully reflect the multicultural nature of the society.

    By inviting visitors to discover monuments belonging to other communities – together with awareness-raising and educational activities for young people – the European Heritage Days can achieve one of their main aims: to encourage better understanding of the Other and to become a real vector of tolerance, particularly in conflict areas. European Heritage Days should raise awareness and understanding that cultures, ideas, traditions and monuments are shared and form part of our common identity.

    The European Heritage Days, like Ireland, are open to the rest of the world. They have inspired similar initiatives on other continents, which have also contributed throughout the centuries, and in various ways, to the richness of European heritage.

    Since its foundation by St Kevin in the 6th century, Glendalough has been a centre of pilgrimage and visits and we do appreciate the fact that our present important European event is an open, public ceremony, in the spirit of the European Heritage Days, meant for all the citizens and providing free access for everybody to monuments and sites all over Europe.

    On this occasion, discussions between the European co-ordinators on the best way to provide accessibility for people with disabilities – a topic of particular interest to the Council of Europe – were started yesterday in Dublin.

    Minister (s),
    Ladies and Gentleman,

    The Celts were known for their hospitality and we can bear witness to the fact that this quality has not been lost over the centuries: we are delighted to experience this hospitality and truly appreciate it on this special occasion.

    I would like to express our warm thanks to you particularly, Minister Gallagher and to the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, for hosting the official launch of the European Heritage Days and for providing us with such a rich and excellent programme.

    I began by saying that our heritage is made up of dreams. Let me end quoting William Butler Yeats, one of the greatest Irish poets:

    “I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

    Thank you very much.



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