506th meeting - January 1994
WORKING METHODS OF THE MINISTERS' DEPUTIES
A. Agenda of the Ministers' Deputies
1) decided that in future the reports of Conventional Committees and the following
other bodies will not be automatically placed on their agenda, unless action by the Committee of Ministers is required or unless a delegation so requests.
The reports will be circulated to all delegations and marked to the effect that they will not be placed on the agenda unless a delegation so requests:
- Standing Committee of the European Convention on Establishment
(T-CE) (ETS No. 19)
- Public Health Committee (CD-P-SP) meeting for the purposes of the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia (Articles 2, 3 and 4) (ETS No. 50)
- Standing Committee of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals kept for Farming Purposes (T-AP) (ETS No. 87)
- Consultative Committee on the European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers (T-MG) (ETS No. 93)
- Standing Committee of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (T-PVS) (ETS No. 104)
- Convention Committee on the Custody Convention (T-CC) (ETS No. 105)
- Consultative Committee of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data
(T-PD) (ETS No. 108)
- Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches (T-RV) (ETS No. 120)
- Standing Committee on Transfrontier Television (T-TT) (ETS No. 132)
- Monitoring Group of the Anti-Doping Convention (T-DO) (ETS No. 135)
- Committee of Experts of the European Convention for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (revised) (ETS No. 143)
- Committee of the Convention on Civil Liability for Damage to the Environment, to be set up after the entry into force of the Convention (ETS No. 155)
- Multilateral Consultation of Parties to the European Convention on the Protection of Animals during International Transport (ETS No. 65)
- Multilateral Consultation of Parties to the European Convention on the Protection of Animals for Slaughter (ETS No. 102)
- Multilateral Consultation of Parties to the European Convention on the Protection of Vertebrate Animals used for Experimental and other Scientific Purposes (ETS No. 123)
- Multilateral Consultation of Parties to the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (ETS No. 125);
2) decided with regard to the reports of Steering Committees and Ad hoc Committees that in future the latter may themselves decide as to the publication of technical reports on certain activities;
3) decided that in future the following items will no longer be placed on the agenda of the Ministers' Deputies:
- reports on Steering Committee and Ad hoc Committee hearings with management and labour (these reports could be circulated for information, but not placed on the agenda unless one or other delegation so requests);
- reports of informal meetings of Ministers of Sport (ditto);
- changes in the membership of Rapporteur Groups outside the full two-yearly review. Countries sometimes ask to leave or join the Groups, eg new member States. It seems unnecessary to refer these requests to the full Committee; the decision may be left to the Bureau, bearing in mind that the Groups are in any case open-ended;
4) recommends to delegations who wish postponement of an item appearing on the agenda to announce this when the agenda is adopted, at the beginning of the meeting, and not to wait until the item is considered.
B. Distribution of items between A level and B level
5) instructed their Bureau to continue efforts to assign more agenda items to B level;
6) authorised the Chairman, in the days preceding a meeting, to make the necessary adjustments to the Bureau's choice, particularly in the light of the content of certain documents;
7) authorised the B level to adopt its own agenda for meetings at that level;
C. "Human Rights" (DH) meetings
8) decided to hold "Human Rights" (DH) meetings, in addition to A level and B level meetings, without specifying their level.
These meetings will be held as of 1995, in conjunction with B level meetings, between two monthly meetings at A level;
9) instructed their Chairman, should urgent matters other than Human Rights - particularly topical political issues - need to be placed on the agenda of a Human Rights (DH) meeting in application of the decision taken by the Ministers' Deputies at their 425th meeting (September 1989), to place such items wherever possible at the beginning of the order of business.
D. Preparation of the Deputies' work by Rapporteur Groups and Working Parties
10) decided that the work of their Rapporteur Groups and Working Parties should as far as possible result in draft decisions ready for adoption as they stand by the Ministers' Deputies. These draft decisions will be included in the Notes on the Agenda with a comment to the effect that they have been prepared and, if appropriate, agreed to by a Rapporteur Group or Working Party. Wherever possible, they may be proposed for adoption without debate at the start of the Deputies' plenary meeting.
In taking this decision, the Deputies pointed out that this adoption-without-debate procedure does not prevent a delegation or the Secretariat from making a statement for inclusion in the "Decisions adopted and Records" of the Ministers' Deputies.
Furthermore, a delegation will always have the possibility, if need be, of re-opening the discussion in a plenary meeting . However, if the question is not urgent, the item could be referred back to the competent Rapporteur Group or Working Party for further consideration;
11) It being understood that all the Rapporteur Groups remain open to all delegations wishing to take part in their work, decided that, to enable all delegations to avail themselves of this possibility, they should be kept regularly informed of the work in progress in each Group through the circulation of copies of convocations and synopses;
12) with a view to pragmatic selection of the items to be prepared by the Rapporteur Groups without prolonging the decision-making process, instructed their Bureau, when considering the distribution of items between A level and B level for meeting (n), (which it does during meeting (n-1), to put forward, with the Secretariat's assistance, proposals regarding the preliminary consideration of certain items by Rapporteur Groups or Working Parties, so as to enable the plenary committee, when approving at the end of meeting (n-1) the preliminary draft agenda for meeting (n), to ratify the Bureau's proposals, which will give the Rapporteur Groups concerned time to conduct a preliminary consideration of the items before meeting (n) and to:
- either prepare draft decisions (for adoption without debate where appropriate);
- or, if the question is not yet ready for decision, propose postponement of the item to a forthcoming meeting of the Deputies. This proposal could be adopted - tacitly if this is preferred - with the adoption of the agenda at the beginning of meeting (n);
13) reminded their Rapporteur Groups of the possibility of holding general policy discussions concerning their particular sectors of activity and that under Resolution (89) 40 of the Committee of Ministers' Rapporteur Groups may develop contacts with Assembly Committees, their chairmen and rapporteurs and also with Steering Committees, their bureaux and chairmen, Conferences of Specialised Ministers and their preparatory committees;
14) instructed the Groups to intensify dialogue with the Steering Committees (working in their fields of activity), particularly through hearings of their chairmen, whilst avoiding systematic recourse to this, which would degenerate into routine. However, where contacts with the Parliamentary Assembly are
concerned, the Rapporteur Groups and Working Parties should if possible seek prior approval from the plenary Committee or, in urgent cases, by the Bureau of the Deputies;
15) decided, when a problem arises at a plenary meeting of the Ministers' Deputies, especially one of drafting, to have recourse more frequently to setting up a Working Party or Drafting Group of a genuinely short-term nature, formed on a pragmatic basis according to the delegations which have shown an interest in the question under consideration in plenary, in such a way as to help find a speedy solution.
16) The Deputies instructed the Secretariat
a) to take the necessary technical measures to speed up the printing and reproduction of the documents they need in the meeting room, particularly the draft decisions;
b) to consider the installation of a state-of-the-art video information system and, with a view to equipping a future Committee of Ministers' meeting room, an electronic voting system.