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Communication on the activities of the Committee of Ministers

Statutory Report 2013


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 1187bis meeting (18 December 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1187bis/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Statement by the Committee of Ministers on the situation in Ukraine.

At their 1187bis meeting (18 December 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1187bis/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Statement by the Committee of Ministers on the recent executions in Japan and the United States of America.

At their 1178th meeting (17-18 September 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1178/13.2), the Deputies adopted the declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the recent executions in Japan and in the United States of America.

At their 1178th meeting (17-18 September 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1178/2.3), the Deputies welcomed the activities implemented in 2012 by the Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform and took note of the prospects for 2013. They agreed to transmit the annual report of the Centre of Expertise (CM(2013)108), to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe so that they can take note of the Centre of Expertise’s results. Finally the Deputies encouraged member States to make use of the Centre of Expertise’s programmes and to contribute to their financing through voluntary contributions.

At their 1170th meeting (7 May 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1170/2.1bisb), the Deputies adopted the declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the abolition of the death penalty in Maryland (United States of America).

At their 1169th meeting (30 April 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1169/2.1bis a), the Deputies agreed to invite a representative of Belarus to participate in the GR-DEM meeting of 2 May 2013, in order to take part in an exchange of views on the item which concerns this country.

At their 1169th meeting (30 April 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1169/2.1bis a), the Deputies adopted the declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the recent executions in Japan and in the United States of America.

Replies to Recommendations

At their 1182nd meeting (24 October 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1182/2.3), the Deputies adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2022 (2013) on “Post-monitoring dialogue with “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia””.

At their 1174th meeting (19 June 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1174/2.3), the Deputies adopted the reply to Recommendation 2006 (2013) of the Parliamentary Assembly on “The situation in Kosovo1 and the role of the Council of Europe”.

At their 1165th meeting (13 March 2013), the Deputies adopted replies to Congress Recommendations 325 (2012) on “The changes under way in the Arab countries – opportunities for local and regional democracy” (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1165/2.3a), 328 (2012) on “The right of local authorities to be consulted by other levels of government” (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1165/2.3b), 331 (2012) on “The governance of macro-regions in Europe” (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1165/2.3c) and 333 (2012) on “Second-tier local authorities – intermediate governance in Europe” (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1165/2.3d).

Relations with member States

Albania

At their 1178th meeting (17-18 September 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1178/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the report on the implementation of the Council of Europe’s electoral assistance activities in Albania (DGII/Inf(2013)9).

At their 1161st meeting (5 February 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1161/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the programme of assistance designed to provide support for the parliamentary elections to be held in Albania in June 2013 (DGII/Inf(2012)5). They instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme in liaison with the Albanian authorities and the other bodies providing assistance in this sphere and to report back in due course to the GR-DEM. The Deputies also instructed the Secretariat to explore means of supplementing the funding currently available for the aforementioned programme and invited the member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to this end.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

At their 1165th meeting (13 March 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1165/2.1bis), the Deputies, referring to the conclusions of the 17th monitoring report on Bosnia and Herzegovina's compliance with its obligations and commitments (SG/Inf(2013)4 final), welcomed the fulfilment of all convention-based commitments set in Opinion No. 234 (2002) of the Parliamentary Assembly on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application for membership of the Council of Europe; the election of the judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the adoption of the laws on State Aid and Census; the advancement, albeit with some difficulties, in the implementation of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy and of the National War Crime Strategy; as well as the administration of the electoral process by domestic actors. The Deputies welcomed the continuous improvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s relations with its neighbours and the good level of co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

The Deputies urged the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement the recommendations contained in Chapter VIII of the 17th monitoring report, namely to:

- duly execute the Sejdić and Finci judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, and therefore to amend the Constitution and the electoral legislation so as to bring them into conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights without any further delay;

- increase the efficiency of institutions at all levels (State, entity, local) – as well as effective and efficient co-operation and co-ordination between the State level and the entities, between the entities, and between the different branches of government;

- eliminate, as a matter of priority, all outstanding ethnic segregation issues in schools, and develop and implement policies at all relevant levels to ensure both the protection of the right to education in one’s mother tongue and in a tolerant, inclusive, integrated educational environment;

- pursue and strengthen the measures, notably in the legislative field, to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity;

- implement fully the current Justice Sector Reform Strategy, including through the fostering of a constructive approach within the EU-structured dialogue on justice and the implementation of the recommendations of the Venice Commission;

- follow up the initiative co-ordinated by the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the adoption of a new strategy for the justice sector covering the period after 2014;

- implement fully the National War Crime Strategy;

- continue providing support to the process of genuine enjoyment of the right to return for refugees and IDPs;

- include all relevant actors, foremost the Central Electoral Commission, in discussions on reform of election-related legislation and processes;

- complete the reform of the public broadcasting system by preserving the independence of public regulatory bodies and public broadcasters at all levels;

- ensure adequate human and financial resources for the functioning of key independent institutions, such as the Ombudsperson, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Central Electoral Commission or the Communications Regulatory Agency.

At the same meeting, the Deputies welcomed the steps taken by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to submit, as soon as possible, suitable candidates to the Council of Europe bodies currently without a member from Bosnia and Herzegovina, namely the Venice Commission, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the European Committee of Social Rights, and welcomed also the willingness of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to prepare jointly with the Council of Europe a comprehensive action plan of co-operation.

Georgia

At their 1181st meeting (16 October 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1181/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the action plan for Georgia designed to provide technical project assistance to the Georgian authorities for the period 2013-2015 (ODGProg/Inf(2013)15), and instructed the Secretariat to begin implementing it and to report in due course to the GR-DEM. They also instructed the Secretariat to explore ways of supplementing the funding currently available for the above-mentioned action plan and invited member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to this end.

At their 1173rd meeting (11-12 June 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1173/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the report on the implementation of the Council of Europe assistance programme for elections in Georgia. They encouraged the Georgian authorities to make the best possible use of this programme in order to ensure that the presidential elections scheduled for October 2013 are free and fair. They then instructed the Secretariat to continue the implementation of the programme in close co-operation with the Georgian authorities and in co-ordination with the other relevant international organisations, and to report back in due course to the GR-DEM.

Republic of Moldova

At their 1185th (Budget) meeting (19-20 November 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1185/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the Action Plan 2013-2016 to support democratic reforms in the Republic of Moldova (ODGProg/Inf(2013)17 rev). They instructed the Secretariat to explore the means of complementing the funding currently available for the Action Plan, in close co-ordination with the Moldovan authorities, and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions to this end. The Deputies also instructed the Secretariat to ensure the implementation of the Action Plan and to report in due course to the GR-DEM.

At their 1181st meeting (16 October 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1181/2.1bis), the Deputies, referring to the conclusions of the stocktaking report on the co-operation of the Republic of Moldova with the Council of Europe (SG/Inf(2013)28 final), welcomed the progress achieved by the country on the reform agenda and the efforts that the Government of the Republic of Moldova has deployed to carry out the reforms in the sphere of justice, police, human rights and anti-discrimination, and took note of the commitment to continuing the reform process.

The Deputies underlined that a number of important issues still need to be addressed and encouraged the Moldovan authorities to continue to make full use of the expertise available through the Council of Europe and to follow up on the recommendations of various organs of the Organisation. They encouraged the continuation of the co-operation between the Council of Europe and the Republic of Moldova in the priority areas, including for the improvement of the electoral legal framework and constitutional reform, justice sector and law enforcement structures reform, fight against corruption, media freedom, local democracy and confidence-building measures across the River Nistru/Dniester. For this purpose, the Deputies invited the Secretariat to prepare, in close co-operation with the Moldovan authorities, a framework assistance document action plan aiming to support reforms in the Republic of Moldova.

At their 1161st meeting (5 February 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1161/2.1bis), the Deputies welcomed the successful implementation of the confidence-building measures across the river Nistru/Dniester which took place in the course of 2012. They approved the programme for confidence-building measures for 2013 and 2014 (DPA/Inf(2013)2) and instructed the Secretariat to implement this programme and to report back to the GR-DEM on the outcome in due course. The Deputies also instructed the Secretariat to explore means of supplementing the funding currently available for the aforementioned programme and invited the member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to this end.

Russian Federation

At their 1175th meeting (3 July 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1175/2.1bis a), the Deputies approved the plan of activities for 2013 agreed between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic (DPA/Inf(2013)3), and took note of the information contained in this document about the outcome of the 2012 programme. They instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme and to report in due course to the GR-DEM.

Ukraine

At their 1185th (Budget) meeting (19-20 November 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1185/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the revised version of the Council of Europe’s Action Plan for Ukraine 2011-2014 (ODGProg/Inf(2013)5 rev) and instructed the Secretariat to continue its implementation and to report to the GR-DEM in due course. They also instructed the Secretariat to explore the means of complementing the funding currently available for the Action Plan, in close co-ordination with the Ukrainian authorities, and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions to this end.

At their 1181st meeting (16 October 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1181/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the progress report on the implementation of the action plan for Ukraine (ODGProg/In(2013)8). They welcomed the progress achieved in implementing the action plan and encouraged the swift completion of all the objectives set therein. The Deputies also expressed their gratitude for the contributions to the financing of the activities and instructed the Secretariat to look into ways to complement the available budget for the action plan. Finally, the Deputies instructed the Secretariat to present a final report on the results and achievements of the action plan at the end of the implementation period.

Compliance with member States' commitments

Armenia

At their 1170th meeting (7 May 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1170/2.1bisa), the Deputies, having regard to the report on the state of implementation of the commitments entered into by Armenia, prepared following a visit of a GR-DEM delegation to that country on 21 and 22 March 2013, agreed that the monitoring of the honouring by Armenia of its commitments will from now on take place within the regular work of the GR-DEM and decided accordingly to end the special procedure which they had put in place at their 1101st meeting (8 December 2010). They called on Armenia to continue making progress in implementing its commitments, paying special attention to the points identified in the aforementioned report as requiring such progress, including with regard to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Deputies reiterated their commitment to continue to provide assistance to Armenia to this end and, in this connection, welcomed the recent conclusion of a memorandum of understanding on the Council of Europe presence in Armenia. They invited the GR-DEM to report back to them within one year.

Azerbaijan

At their 1170th meeting (7 May 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1170/2.1bisa), the Deputies, having regard to the report on the state of implementation of the commitments entered into by Azerbaijan, prepared following a visit of a GR-DEM delegation to that country on 10 and 11 April 2013, agreed that the monitoring of the honouring by Azerbaijan of its commitments will from now on take place within the regular work of their Rapporteur Group on Democracy (GR-DEM) and decided accordingly to end the special procedure which they had put in place at their 1101st meeting (8 December 2010). They called on Azerbaijan to make more progress in implementing its commitments, paying special attention to the points identified in the aforementioned report as requiring such progress, including with regard to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Deputies stressed the particular importance of taking effective measures to ensure respect for fundamental freedoms and the democratic functioning of institutions, in particular with a view to the next elections, which will represent a key stage in the implementation of its commitments. The Deputies reiterated their commitment to continue to provide assistance to Azerbaijan to this end and, in this connection, stressed the importance they attach to the draft action plan which has been forwarded to the Azerbaijan authorities, and to its prompt implementation. They invited the GR-DEM to report back to them within one year.

Relations with non-member States

Belarus

At their 1175th meeting (3 July 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1175/2.4), the Deputies agreed to accede to the request by Belarus for observer status with the CAHDI on the understanding that the matter will be followed in the light of developments in Belarus with respect to Council of Europe values. They underlined that this decision should not be construed as an acknowledgement by the Committee of Ministers that the situation concerning respect for the principles of the rule of law in Belarus is satisfactory.

At their 1161st meeting (5 February 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1161/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the programme of Council of Europe activities in Belarus for the period 2012-2013 (ODGProg/Inf(2012)13 rev) and instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme of activities and to report back to the GR-DEM on the outcome in due course. The Deputies also instructed the Secretariat to explore means of supplementing the funding currently available for this programme of activities and invited the member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to this end.

Kosovo1

At their 1175th meeting (3 July 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1175/2.1bis a), the Deputies took note of the report on the Council of Europe's co-operation activities in Kosovo1 (ODGProg/Inf(2013)7 and ODGProg/Inf(2013)7 add) and instructed the Secretariat to continue implementing these activities. They called on the member States to consider the possibility of supplementing the financing of these activities through voluntary contributions.

Relations with international organisations

European Union

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

At their 1183rd meeting (6 November 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1183/2.3), the Deputies took note of the report of the Chair on the results of 18th meeting of the Co-ordination Group between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Vienna, 25 October 2013) (CM/Inf(2013)35). They took note that the Co-ordination Group will meet in Strasbourg in the first half of 2014 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 1168th meeting (10 April 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1168/2.3), the Deputies took note of the report of the Chairs (CM/Inf(2013)12) and took note that the Co-ordination Group will meet in Vienna in Autumn 2013 to examine co-operation in the areas of the fight against terrorism and action against trafficking in human beings.

United Nations

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The Council of Europe and the conflict in Georgia

At their 1171st meeting (29 May 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1171/2.1), the Deputies took note of the Secretary General’s seventh consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia (SG/Inf(2013)13).

Policy of the Council of Europe towards neighbouring regions

At their 1187bis meeting (18 December 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1187bis/2.3), the Deputies approved the priorities for co-operation with Kazakhstan for the period 2014-2015 (DGProg/Inf(2013)6 rev). They instructed the Secretariat to ensure the implementation of these priorities and to report back in due course to the GR-EXT.

At their 1176th meeting (10 July 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1176/2.3), the Deputies took note of the interim implementation reports on co-operation priorities concerning Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan (ODGPROG/Inf(2013)9, ODGPROG/Inf(2013)10 and ODGPROG/Inf(2013)11 respectively). They instructed the Secretariat to continue implementing these co-operation priorities and to report to the GR-EXT. The Deputies called on the member States to consider the possibility of supplementing the financing of these priorities through voluntary contributions.

European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)

At their 1176th meeting (10 July 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1176/2.4), the Deputies approved the Appendix to Protocol No. 3 to the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities concerning Euroregional Co-operation Groupings (ECGs) (CM(2013)66 add). They then took note of the abridged report of the 51st meeting of the CDLR (CM(2013)66).

At their 1161st meeting (5 February 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1161/2.3), the Deputies took note of the abridged report of the 50th meeting of the CDLR (CM(2012)169).

International Non-Governmental Organisations / Non-Governmental Organisations

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

North-South Centre

At their 1171st meeting (29 May 2013) (CM/Del/Dec(2013)1171/1.6), the Deputies endorsed the report of the GT-CNS on the future of the North-South Centre (GT-CNS(2013)4 final), and consequently, in application of Resolution Res(96)36 establishing the criteria for Partial and Enlarged Agreements of the Council of Europe, as amended by Resolution CM/Res(2010)2, agreed that the North-South Centre should continue to operate. They invited the North-South Centre to implement the orientations identified in the above-mentioned report in the framework of its plan of activities. The Deputies considered that the Centre should be given until the end of 2015 to implement this new line of action in order to give more member and non-member States the opportunity to join. They agreed to follow regularly the developments in this respect and instructed the Secretary General to submit to them by mid-2014 an interim report on this matter. They agreed furthermore to take stock of the Centre’s activities at the end of 2015, on the basis of an independent evaluation report prepared under the aegis of the Directorate of Internal Oversight (DIO), to be submitted to them as soon as the plan of activities is completed, and in any event, no later than June 2015. Finally, the Deputies invited the Secretary General to communicate the report of the GT-CNS as well as the present decisions to the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre.

1 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and with the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.



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