CM/Inf(2007)22 14 May 20071
Working methods of the Ministers’ Deputies
Voting procedures for meetings of the Ministers’ Deputies
The present document reproduces the basic texts concerning voting procedures for meetings of the Ministers' Deputies.
They are taken from the Statute of the Council of Europe, from the Rules of Procedure for the meetings of the Ministers' Deputies, from Resolution (93) 27 and from relevant decisions adopted by the Ministers’ Deputies.
The appendix indicates the majorities required when voting on different subjects.
* * *
Statute of the Council of Europe
a. Resolutions of the Committee of Ministers relating to the following important matters, namely:
i. recommendations under Article 15.b;
ii. questions under Article 19;
iii. questions under Article 21.a.i and b;
iv. questions under Article 33;
v. recommendations for the amendment of Articles 1.d, 7, 15, 20 and 22; and
vi. any other question which the Committee may, by a resolution passed under d below, decide should be subject to a unanimous vote on account of its importance, require the unanimous vote of the representatives casting a vote, and of a majority of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.
b. Questions arising under the rules of procedure or under the financial and administrative regulations may be decided by a simple majority vote of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.
c. Resolutions of the Committee under Articles 4 and 5 require a two-thirds majority of all the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.
d. All other resolutions of the Committee, including adoption of the budget, of rules of procedure and of financial and administrative regulations, recommendations for the amendment of articles of this Statute, other than those mentioned in paragraph a.v above, and deciding in case of doubt which paragraph of this article applies, require a two-thirds majority of the representatives casting a vote and of a majority of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.
Rules of Procedure
Article 9 - Voting
"1. The following decisions shall require a unanimous vote of the Deputies casting a vote, and a majority2 of the Deputies entitled to vote:
(a) Recommendations to governments under Article 15(b) of the Statute3;
(b) Decisions on the inclusion of information about the activities of the Committee in the reports made by the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly in pursuance of Article 19 of the Statute4;
(c) Decisions to derogate from the rule that meetings are held in private or concerning the publication of information relating to the conclusions and decisions of the Deputies on the basis of the provision of Article 21 of the Statute5;
(d) Decisions on holding sessions of the Consultative Assembly elsewhere than in Strasbourg;
(e) Recommendations for the amendment of the Statute;
(f) Decisions on the admission of new Members;
(g) Decisions on matters which the Deputies may, under the conditions provided for in paragraph 4 of the Article, decide to subject to a unanimous vote on account of their importance.
2. Resolutions concerning the adoption of the budget shall be taken by a two-thirds majority.
4. All other decisions of the Deputies, including, in case of doubt, the decision as to which paragraph of this Article applies, require a two-thirds majority."
Article 10 - Method of voting
"1. In every vote it shall be open to a Deputy:
(a) to record his approval, opposition or abstention, which may be accompanied by an explanatory statement;
(b) to agree to a text or decision ad referendum; in that case he shall inform the Secretariat at a later date whether he is able to give his final agreement. Should his vote have been necessary in order to obtain the statutory majority or to achieve the required unanimity, the adoption of the text or the application of the decision shall be suspended; once the final agreement had been given, the text or decision shall take effect as of the date on which the vote was taken in the meeting of the Deputies;6
2. Where unanimity is required, a Deputy may:
(a) record his opposition, in which case the proposal shall be rejected;
(b) require that the decision be deferred; in that case the question is included in the agenda of a subsequent meeting;
(c) approve the adoption of a text but reserve the right of his government to comply with it or not;
(d) record his abstention which may be accompanied by an explanatory statement, which shall not prevent the Deputies from reaching a decision in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 of the present Rules.
3. A two-thirds majority is obtained if two-thirds of the Deputies casting a vote and the majority of the Deputies entitled to vote, vote in the same sense7.
4. A simple majority requires the votes of half of the number of the Deputies entitled to vote, plus one8.
5. Only affirmative and negative votes shall count in calculating the number of votes cast.
6. After the result of a vote has been announced a Deputy may, with the agreement of his colleagues expressed by a simple majority, change the position which he adopted during the vote.
7. Before proceeding to a vote, the Chairman may ask the Deputies to express their views on an indicative basis."
Statutory Resolution (93) 27
on majorities required for decisions of the Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Articles 15.a and 16 of the Statute of the Council of Europe, …
Resolves as follows:
I. Opening of conventions and agreements for signature
Decisions on the opening for signature of conventions and agreements concluded within the Council of Europe shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the Representatives casting a vote and a majority of the Representatives entitled to sit on the Committee, as set out in Article 20.d of the Statute.
II. Partial Agreements
In accordance with the Statutory Resolution on Partial and Enlarged Agreements, decisions authorising certain member states to pursue an activity as a Partial Agreement shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the Representatives casting a vote and a majority of the Representatives entitled to sit on the Committee, as set out in Article 20.d of the Statute.
443rd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies
(September 1990) – Item 8
The Deputies agreed upon a “gentleman’s agreement” amongst themselves to the effect that their delegations would endeavour, whenever possible, not to abstain when voting on the inclusion of activities in the intergovernmental programme of activities.
519bis meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies
(4 November 1994) – Item 2.2 para. C.
C. Regarding the voting procedures,
1. the Deputies agreed upon a Gentleman’s Agreement amongst themselves to the effect that no delegation should request the application of the rule of unanimity provided for under Article 20 (a) (I) of the Statute to block the adoption of recommendations to the governments of member States, if the majority foreseen in Article 20 (d) of the Statute has been attained;
2. the Deputies, noting that no binding decision on this subject exists in the Statute, agreed to adopt replies to the Parliamentary Assembly henceforth by the majority provided for in Article 20 (d) of the Statute, considering that every effort will be made to reach a consensus within a reasonable period of time;
3. the Deputies agreed to specify, at the beginning of the text of an answer of the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly, if a delegation should request it, that this answer was adopted by a majority as provided by Article 20 (d) of the Statute.
Majorities required in the Committee of Ministers - Basis: 47 member States
(With the exception of particular provisions applicable under certain Conventions)
Simple majority of representatives 2/3 majority of representatives
entitled to sit on the Committee entitled to sit on the Committee
= 24 = 32
VOTING SUBJECT MATTER