Communication on the activities of the Committee of Ministers  
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Statutory Report 2012

2. Democracy and political questions
General
Replies to Recommendations
Relations with member states
Compliance with member states' commitments
Relations with non-member states
Relations with international organisations
The Council of Europe and the conflict in Georgia
Policy of the Council of Europe towards neighbouring regions
European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)
International Non-Governmental Organisations / Non-Governmental Organisations
North-South Centre

 

General

At their 1142nd meeting (9 May 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1142/2.3), the Deputies agreed to invite Mr Montaser Oklah Al-Zou'bi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the Kingdom of Belgium, the European Union, the Kingdom of Norway, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and to NATO to participate in the Rapporteur Group on External Relations (GR-EXT) meeting on 10 May 2012, in order to take part in an exchange of views on Council of Europe co operation with this country.

At their 1142nd meeting (9 May 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1142/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the following statement by the Committee of Ministers:

“The Committee of Ministers condemns with the utmost firmness the continued violations of international human rights law committed since the beginning of hostilities in Syria, despite the current presence on the ground of an advance team of UN observers. The Committee calls for an immediate respect of the ceasefire which should have come into effect on 12 April.

It expresses full support to the UN Supervision Mission in Syria and to its endeavours. It calls upon all parties in Syria to cease immediately all forms of violence. The Committee of Ministers urges the Syrian Government to follow its commitment and to apply immediately, completely and unconditionally the six point plan devised by the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, and endorsed by UNSC Resolutions 2042 and 2043.

The Committee of Ministers commends neighbouring countries namely Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon for the humanitarian assistance provided to Syrian refugees.

A peaceful and democratic solution founded on full respect for human rights is the only way forward for Syria.”

At their 1141st meeting (2 May 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1141/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the Strategy for the Schools of Political Studies for 2012 and beyond (DPP-SPS(2012)1 final).

At their 1139th meeting (4 April 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1139/2.1bisb), the Deputies adopted the following statement by the Committee of Ministers:

“The Committee of Ministers deplores the three executions which took place on 29 March 2012 in Japan, an observer State to the Council of Europe.
These executions go counter to the growing trend against the death penalty at the international level.
The Committee of Ministers reaffirms its unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances. It remains determined to continue its efforts for the global abolition of the death penalty. It calls on the Japanese authorities to put an end to this practice.”

At their 1135th meeting (22 and 23 February 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1135/2.1bis), the Deputies supported the statement made by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on 15 February 2012 regarding the situation in Syria. They agreed to resume consideration of this question at their 1137th meeting (14 March 2012, item 2.3).

 

Replies to Recommendations

Parliamentary Assembly

At their 1149th meeting (12 September 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1149/2.4), the Deputies adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1992 (2012) on “The situation in Belarus”.

At their 1138th meeting (28 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1138/2.4), the Deputies adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1982 (2011) on “The impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the Council of Europe”.

 

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

At their 1153rd meeting (24 October 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1153/2.4), the Deputies adopted the reply to Recommendation 307 (2011) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe on “Citizen participation at local and regional level in Europe”.

Relations with member states

Albania

At their 1153rd meeting (24 October 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1153/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the co-operation document designed to provide assistance to the Albanian authorities for the period 2012-2014 (ODG PROG/Inf(2012)12 rev), and instructed the Secretariat to undertake its implementation and to report in due course to the GR-DEM. They also instructed the Secretariat to explore the means of supplementing the current financing for the aforementioned programme, and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions for this purpose.

Armenia

At their 1138th meeting (28 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1138/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the action plan for 2012-2014 (DGProg/Inf(2012)1) and instructed the Secretariat to look into ways to complement the available budget for the action plan, in close co-ordination with the Armenian authorities, and invited the member States to consider providing voluntary contributions for its financing. They also instructed the Secretariat to ensure its implementation and to report back, in due course, to the GR-DEM.

Georgia

At their 1147th meeting (4 and 6 July 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1147/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the interim report on the implementation of the Council of Europe programme to support Georgia with a view to the 2012 (parliamentary), 2013 (presidential) and 2014 (local) elections.  They encouraged the Georgian authorities to make the best possible use of this assistance programme to ensure that these elections are free and fair and instructed the Secretariat to continue implementing this programme in close co-operation with the Georgian authorities and in co-ordination with the other relevant international organisations, and to report in due course to the GR-DEM.

At their 1130th meeting (11 January 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1130/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the assistance programme for elections to be held in Georgia for the period 2012-2014 (DGII/Inf(2011)32) and invited member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to complement its financing.  They instructed the Secretariat to implement the aforementioned activities, remaining in close contact with the Georgian authorities and other international organisations with a view to adjusting the activities, as appropriate, in the run-up to the elections and invited the GR-DEM to follow the implementation of the assistance programme.

 

Republic of Moldova

At their 1134th meeting (15-16 February 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1134/2.1bis), the Deputies, in the light of the report presented by the Secretariat on the confidence-building measures across the river Nistru/Dniester (DGII/Inf(2012)1), welcomed the successful implementation of the confidence-building measures across the river Nistru/Dniester in the course of 2011 and approved the programme for confidence-building measures across the river Nistru/Dniester in 2012 and 2013. They instructed the Secretariat to ensure their implementation and to report to the GR-DEM in due course. The Deputies also invited the Secretariat to explore the possibility to develop this programme, with a view to submitting possible proposals for additional activities for consideration by the GR-DEM, and to explore ways of supplementing the funding currently available for the above-mentioned programme and invited member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to this end. Finally, the Deputies invited the GR-DEM to follow the implementation of the programme.

 

Montenegro

At their 1137th meeting (14 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1137/2.1bis), the Deputies, referring to the report “Montenegro: stocktaking of co-operation and fulfilment of statutory obligations” (DPA/Inf(2011)36 rev), welcomed the substantial progress achieved by Montenegro in fulfilling its Council of Europe accession commitments and statutory obligations.

The Deputies welcomed the adoption of a number of important laws in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy and encouraged the authorities to give priority attention to their efficient implementation. They called on the authorities of Montenegro to implement the following recommendations: - complete the specific accession commitments and statutory obligations by ensuring the independence of the judiciary and the imperative of avoiding any decisive role of political institutions in the procedure of appointment and dismissal of judges and prosecutors, by completing the reform of the Constitution, in accordance with the Venice Commission’s recommendations; - strengthen the independence of the Ombudsman and ensure he/she becomes an effective mechanism to implement the anti-discrimination legislation by adopting the necessary constitutional amendments, in line with the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR’s joint opinion; - improve the legal framework related to the fight against corruption and organised crime, in particular as regards the setting-up of more efficient mechanisms for the implementation and monitoring of anti-corruption initiatives; - strengthen the independence of media, notably by fostering the implementation of the Law on Electronic Media, the functioning of the self-regulatory body and by prosecuting all acts of violence against journalists; - ensure an adequate enforcement of national minorities’ constitutional and legal rights; - combat discrimination, in particular with regard to the LGBT community; - ensure genuine independence and effectiveness of the independent oversight bodies by providing them with the necessary financial, human and logistic resources to fulfil their functions; - encourage a political dialogue between the parliamentary majority and the opposition, which would lead to the swift adoption of laws requiring a qualified majority.

 

Russian Federation

At their 1139th meeting (4 April 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1139/2.1bisa), the Deputies approved the plan of activities for 2012 between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic (DPA/Inf(2012)4) and took note of the information contained therein regarding the outcome of the programme in 2011.  They instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme and to report back to the GR-DEM in due course.

 

Serbia

At their 1137th meeting (14 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1137/2.1bis), the Deputies, referring to the report “Serbia: stocktaking of co-operation and fulfilment of statutory obligations” (DPA/Inf(2011)30 rev), welcomed the significant progress and important reforms carried out by Serbia in fulfilling its Council of Europe accession commitments and statutory obligations.

The Deputies welcomed Serbia’s messages and actions in fostering bilateral and multilateral relations, contributing to an improved political climate in the region and encouraged the authorities to maintain this positive dynamic. The Deputies welcomed the improved co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the arrest and transfer of the two remaining fugitives to the ICTY. They called on the authorities of Serbia to implement the following recommendations:
- continue to work towards fulfilling Serbia’s remaining statutory commitments and obligations to the Council of Europe;
- complete the formal commitments and obligations taken upon accession to the Council of Europe by ratifying the Madrid Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation;
- secure the independence of the oversight bodies, to provide them with the sufficient means and resources to fulfil their mandates and promote better co-ordination between the relevant state institutions;
- continue the reform of the justice system, increasing its transparency, independence and efficiency, by making the best possible use of the Council of Europe expertise;
- address the issue of public intolerance and homophobia in parts of society, by encouraging wider societal debates on the values of diversity, providing support to the reform of education, encouraging related initiatives of civil society, and by ensuring that the standards set by the law on anti-discrimination are enforced and fully implemented;
- continue to improve the situation of persons belonging to national minorities in line with recommendations presented by the relevant monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe.

 

Ukraine

At their 1153rd meeting (24 October 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1153/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the document “Review of the implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2011-2014 – progress report July 2011 – July 2012” (ODG PROG/Inf(2012)16) and invited the Secretariat to draw up, in co-operation with the Ukrainian authorities, an updated version of the Action Plan in order to incorporate the proposals set out in this report. They instructed the Secretariat to continue, in co-operation with the Ukrainian authorities, implementing the Action Plan as updated in the light of the discussions at the meeting of the GR-DEM on 18 October 2012 and invited the Secretariat to further explore the means of supplementing the current financing and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions for this purpose.

Compliance with member states' commitments

 

Relations with non-member states

Belarus

At their 1137bis meeting (22 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1137bis/1.2), the Deputies adopted the following statement by the Committee of Ministers:

“The Committee of Ministers, which had firmly condemned the terrorist attack in the Minsk Metro on 11 April 2011, deplores that the Belarusian authorities despite the numerous calls for clemency from the international community, including the Committee of Ministers’ own statement of 7 December 2011, executed Dimitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalev, following their sentencing to death.

The Committee of Ministers reiterates its position that justice cannot be achieved through the death of further human beings. In proceeding with these executions – a punishment which is irreversible and irreparable – the Belarusian authorities ignored one of the basic values of the Council of Europe, the respect for human life. Such actions run counter to our common objective to bring Belarus closer to the Council of Europe.

The Committee of Ministers strongly urges Belarus to establish a formal moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.” .

At their 1130th meeting (11 January 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1130/2.4), the Deputies invited Belarus to accede to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.  They approved the agreement between the Republic of Belarus and the Council of Europe concerning the privileges and immunities of the members of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and other members of country visit delegations (GR‑DEM(2011)14) and authorised the Secretary General to sign it.  The Deputies agreed that the signature of this agreement should take place, at the latest, at the time of deposit of the instrument of accession by Belarus to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
 

Morocco

At their 1140th meeting (11 and 12 April 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1140/2.3), the Deputies took note of the revised co-operation priorities for Morocco (DGProg/Inf(2011)4 rev).  They instructed the Secretariat to present an overview of the existing financing and the outstanding financial needs and to look into ways to complement the available budget to ensure the full implementation of the activities foreseen, and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions for their financing.  Finally, the Deputies instructed the Secretariat to ensure the implementation of the activities and to report back, in due course, to the GR-EXT.

 

Tunisia

At their 1138th meeting (28 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1138/2.5), the Deputies endorsed the priorities for co-operation with Tunisia (DGProg/Inf(2012)3 rev).  They asked the Secretariat to update this document in due course and to elaborate, in close co‑operation with the country concerned and in co-ordination with other relevant actors, specific proposals for activities and modalities for their implementation, including operational presence, on the basis of these priorities, with a view to starting their implementation as soon as possible.  The Deputies invited the GR-EXT to continue to follow this matter and to report in due course on progress made.

 

Relations with international organisations

At their 1147th meeting (4 and 6 July 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1147/2.3), the Deputies took note of the co-operation programme between the Council of Europe and the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) (DGProg/Inf(2012)4 rev).

European Union

At their 1147th meeting (4 and 6 July 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1147/1.7), the Deputies appointed Professor Rainer Hofmann as alternate to the independent person to sit on the organs of the Agency for a term of office coming to an end on 1 July 2017.

At their 1146th meeting (20 June 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1146/2.3), the Deputies took note of the summary report on co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union (GR-EXT(2012)7).

At their 1145th meeting (13 June 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1145/1.8), the Deputies appointed Mrs Maud De Boer-Buquicchio as an independent person to sit on the organs of the Agency for a term of office coming to an end on 1 July 2017.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

At their 1155th meeting (21 November 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1155/2.3), the Deputies invited the Chair to forward the proposals contained in document GR-EXT(2012)11 rev to the Chair of the OSCE Permanent Council, in order to ascertain the views of the OSCE on those proposals. They asked the Chair to report in due time on the results of its consultations with the Chair of the OSCE Permanent Council.

At their 1153rd meeting (24 October 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1153/2.3), the Deputies took note of the report of the Chair on the results of the 16th meeting of the Co-ordination Group between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Vienna, 19 October 2012) (CM/Inf(2012)35) and took note that the Co-ordination Group will meet in Strasbourg in the first half of 2013 to examine co operation in the areas of the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination and the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.

At their 1138th meeting (28 March 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1138/2.3), the Deputies took note of the report of the Chairperson on the results of the 15th meeting of the Co-ordination Group between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Strasbourg, 9 March 2012) (CM/Inf(2012)11).  They also took note that the Co-ordination Group will meet in Vienna in Autumn 2012 to examine co‑operation in the areas of the fight against terrorism and action against trafficking in human beings.

 

United Nations

At their 1155th meeting (21 November 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1155/1.5), the Deputies adopted the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the Resolution on a moratorium on the death penalty at the United Nations.

At their 1147th meeting (4 and 6 July 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1147/13.1), the Deputies approved the text of the draft Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations on co‑operation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe and invited the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to take the necessary measures for its transmission, through its mission in New York, to the Secretary General of the United Nations.  Recalling that a wide margin of manoeuvre is left to the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers with the objective of having this text adopted by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly, the Deputies requested the chairmanship to keep them informed in due course of the discussions which will take place on the draft resolution at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The Deputies invited the delegations of all member States to co-sponsor and actively promote, in consultation with the chair of the Committee of Ministers, the draft resolution at the United Nations and expressed the wish that the draft resolution would also be co-sponsored by observer States.  They decided to communicate the draft resolution to the Parliamentary Assembly for information.

 

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

 

The Council of Europe and the conflict in Georgia

At their 1154th meeting (14 November 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1154/2.1), the Deputies took note of the Secretary General’s sixth consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia, (SG/Inf(2012)28 rev).

At their 1142nd meeting (9 May 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1142/2.1), the Deputies took note of the Secretary General’s fifth consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia (SG/Inf(2012)5).

 

Policy of the Council of Europe towards neighbouring regions

At its 122nd Session (23 May 2012) (CM(2012)PVadd1 item3), the Committee of Ministers welcomed the measures taken since the 121st Ministerial Session with a view to implementing the Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions and, in particular, the co-operation priorities agreed with Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. It expressed its determination to continue developing the policy on the basis of the Council of Europe’s values and instructed its Deputies to take the necessary decisions to this end with a view to reporting back to them at the next Session.

At their 1143rd meeting (16 May 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1143/2.3), the Deputies endorsed the priorities for co-operation with Jordan (ODGProg/Inf(2012)2 rev). As regards the medium-term priorities, the Deputies instructed the Secretariat to elaborate, in close co operation with the country concerned and in co-ordination with other relevant actors, specific proposals for activities with a view to their implementation. The Deputies also instructed the Secretariat to present an overview of the existing financing and the outstanding financial needs and to pursue efforts to complement the available budget to ensure the full implementation of the activities foreseen, and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions for their financing. Finally they invited the GR-EXT to continue to follow this matter and to report in due course on progress made.

At their 1130th meeting (11 January 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1130/2.5), the Deputies endorsed the priorities for co-operation with Kazakhstan and Morocco for the period 2012-2014 (DG/Prog(2011)3 and DG/Prog(2011)4).  They asked the Secretariat to update these documents in due course and to elaborate, in close co-operation with the countries concerned and in co‑ordination with other relevant actors, specific proposals for activities and modalities for their implementation, including operational presence, on the basis of these priorities, with a view to starting their implementation as soon as possible.  The Deputies invited the GR-EXT to continue to follow this matter and to report in due course on progress made.

 

European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)
 

At their 1156th meeting (28 November 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1156/2.1bis a), the Deputies referring to the Kyiv Declaration adopted by the European Ministers responsible for local and regional government at the 17th Session of the Council of Europe Conference (Kyiv, 3-4 November 2011), instructed the CDLR to:

-           analyse the impact of changing economic fortunes on local budgets and develop proposed policy responses on the basis, as appropriate, of the “Kyiv Guidelines”;
-           prepare proposals to strengthen awareness raising of the human rights dimension of local and regional governance, in consultation with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the Conference of INGOs;
-           examine how the principles of good democratic governance at local and regional level can be promoted and applied in the practices of local and regional authorities;
-           develop activities to help to overcome obstacles to transfrontier co-operation, inter alia, by sharing the lessons learned from relevant initiatives in member States. 

They invited the CDLR to carry out these activities within the limits of the budgetary resources allocated to it and within the existing structures, while ensuring co-ordination and promoting synergies with the other competent Council of Europe bodies.

 At their 1149th meeting (12 September 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1149/2.3), the Deputies took note of the annual report 2011 and the prospects for 2012 of the Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform (CM(2012)106).  They agreed to forward this document to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in order for them to take note of the results of the Centre, and to communicate it to the CDLR for information.

At their 1145th meeting (13 June 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1145/2.3), the Deputies noted that the CDLR at its 49th meeting reviewed its work programme for 2012-2013 in the light of its new terms of reference.  They noted with satisfaction the exchange of views between the Committee and the President of the Congress, Mr Keith Whitmore, and its constructive outcome.  Finally, the Deputies took note of the abridged report of the 49th meeting of the CDLR (CM(2012)69).

At their 1132nd meeting (1 February 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1132/2.3), the Deputies took note of the abridged report of the 48th meeting of the CDLR (CM(2011)153).

International Non-Governmental Organisations / Non-Governmental Organisations
 

At their 1131st meeting (18 January 2012) (CM/Del/Dec(2012)1131/2.4), the Deputies, in accordance with the provisions of Resolution Res(2003)8 on the Participatory status of international non-governmental organisations to the Council of Europe, decided to grant participatory status to the European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organisations (ANDANTE).  At the same time, they adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1989 (2011) on the “Granting of participatory status to the international non-governmental organisation ANDANTE”.

 

Please see under Section 8 for INGO/NGO involvement in the Youth field.

 

North-South Centre
 


* All reference to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

 


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