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Communication on the activities of the Committee of Ministers

Statutory Report 2014


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
Situation in Ukraine
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 1215th meeting (9-10 December 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1215/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the death penalty in the United States of America.

At their 1211th meeting (12 November 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1211/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the execution of Mr Aleysander Grunow in Belarus.

At their 1210th meeting (22 and 24 October 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1210/2.3), the Deputies welcomed the activities implemented in 2013 by the Centre of Expertise on Local Government Reform and took note of the prospects for 2014. They agreed to transmit the annual report of the Centre of Expertise (CM(2014)119) to the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe so that they might take note of the results of the Centre of Expertise. The Deputies encouraged the member States to avail themselves of the programmes of the Centre of Expertise and to participate in their funding by means of voluntary contributions.

At their 1200th meeting (28 May 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1200/2.1bis b), the Deputies adopted the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the death penalty in the United States of America, and the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the execution of Mr Hryhory Yuzepchuk in Belarus.

At their 1197bis meeting (23 April 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1197bis/13.1), the Deputies adopted the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the execution of Mr Pavel Selyun in Belarus.

At their 1191st meeting (12-13 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1191/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Statement by the Committee of Ministers on the recent executions in the United States of America.

At their 1189th meeting (22 January 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1189/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Statement by the Committee of Ministers on the recent death penalty sentences in Belarus.

Replies to Recommendations

At their 1210th meeting (22 and 24 October 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1210/2.6), the Deputies adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2026 (2013) on “The situation in Syria”.

At their 1210th meeting (22 and 24 October 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1210/2.4), the Deputies adopted the reply to Congress Recommendation 346 (2013) on “Regions and territories with special status in Europe”.

At their 1207th meeting (17 September 2014), the Deputies adopted replies to Congress Recommendation 355 (2014) on “The situation of Leyla Güven and other local elected representatives in detention in Turkey” (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1207/2.3) and Congress Recommendation 356 (2014) on “Post-monitoring of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1207/2.4).

At their 1200th meeting (28 May 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1200/2.4), the Deputies adopted an interim reply to Recommendation 2035 (2014) of the Parliamentary Assembly on “The functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine”.

At their 1194th meeting (12-14 March 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1194/2.3), the Deputies adopted the reply to Recommendation 2025 (2013) of the Parliamentary Assembly on “The functioning of democratic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

At their 1192nd meeting (19-21 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1192/2.4), the Deputies adopted the reply to Congress Recommendation 340 (2013) on “Local and regional authorities responding to the economic crisis”.

At their 1192nd meeting (19-21 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1192/2.3), the Deputies adopted the reply to Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2027 (2013) on “European Union and Council of Europe Human Rights Agendas: Synergies not Duplication!”.

Relations with member States

Albania

At their 1204th meeting (2-3 July 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1204/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the progress report on the implementation of the co-operation document for Albania 2012-2014 (ODGProg/Inf(2014)8) and welcomed the contributions to the financing of the activities. They acknowledged the progress achieved in implementing the co-operation document while encouraging the swift completion of all the objectives set therein. The Deputies instructed the Secretariat to prepare in due course a final report on the implementation of the co-operation document and, in close co-ordination with the Albanian authorities, proposals for a new co-operation framework for 2015-2017 to be examined by the GR-DEM.

Armenia

At their 1196th meeting (2-3 April 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1196/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the progress report on the implementation of the action plan for Armenia (ODGProg/Inf(2013)21). They welcomed the progress achieved in implementing the action plan and encouraged the swift completion of all the objectives set therein. The Deputies 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. They also instructed the Secretariat to present a final report on the results of the action plan at the end of implementation period.

Azerbaijan

At their 1197th meeting (16 April 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1197/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the 2014-2016 action plan intended to support reforms in the field of human rights, rule of law and democracy in Azerbaijan (ODGProg/Inf(2014)2). They instructed the Secretariat to explore ways of supplementing the funding currently available for the action plan, in close co-ordination with the Azerbaijani authorities, and invited member States to consider providing voluntary contributions for that purpose. Finally, the Deputies instructed the Secretariat to implement the action plan and to report in due course to the GR-DEM.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

At their 1215bis meeting (17 December 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1215bis/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the report on the implementation of the assistance programme for the general elections (12 October 2014) (DGII/Inf(2014)20).

At their 1204th meeting (2-3 July 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1204/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the assistance programme designed to provide support for the general elections to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 12 October 2014 (DGII/Inf(2014)11) and instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme in liaison with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other bodies providing assistance in this sphere, and to report back to the GR-DEM in due course.

Georgia

At their 1197th meeting (16 April 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1197/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the assistance programme for the local elections of 15 June 2014 in Georgia (DGII/Inf(2014)5). They instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme in close co-operation with the Georgian authorities and in co-ordination with other relevant international organisations, and to report in due course to the GR-DEM.

Republic of Moldova

At their 1204th meeting (2-3 July 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1204/2.1bis), the Deputies approved the assistance programme designed to provide support for the parliamentary elections to be held in the Republic of Moldova on 30 November 2014 (DGII/Inf(2014)9 rev). They instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme in liaison with the authorities of the Republic of Moldova and the other bodies providing assistance in this sphere, and to report back to the GR-DEM in due course. The Deputies instructed also the Secretariat to explore means of supplementing the funding currently available for the aforementioned programme and invited member States to consider granting voluntary contributions to this end.

Montenegro

At their 1196th meeting (2-3 April 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1196/2.1bis), the Deputies, recalling their decision of 12 January 2011 to replace the post-accession monitoring procedure of the Committee of Ministers with respect to Montenegro by a dialogue-based regular stocktaking of co-operation and progress with the fulfilment of statutory commitments and democratic processes, and referring to the last report submitted by the Secretariat under this stocktaking (SG/Inf(2014)5), welcomed the substantial progress achieved by Montenegro in fulfilling its Council of Europe accession commitments and statutory obligations, in particular regarding the adoption of constitutional amendments aimed at strengthening the independence of the judiciary, the fight against discrimination, notably as regards the rights of LGBT persons, and the situation of persons belonging to national minorities and IDPs. The Deputies noted at the same time that some reforms remain to be completed, which the Montenegrin authorities have committed themselves to achieve under clear timetables. They decided consequently to discontinue the dialogue-based regular stocktaking of co-operation with Montenegro on the understanding that the Montenegrin authorities will complete the reforms under way with regard to the recommendations contained in document SG/Inf(2014)5, as well as with regard to combatting violence against women and domestic violence, increasing women’s participation in politics, improving the situation of persons with disabilities and addressing discrimination against Roma. The Deputies welcomed the readiness of the Montenegrin authorities to share information, when appropriate, in the GR-DEM on the completion of the above-mentioned reforms.

Russian Federation

At their 1210th meeting (22 and 24 October 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1210/2.1bis a), the Deputies approved the programme of activities for 2014-2015 between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic (DPA/Inf(2014)1) and took note of the information contained in this document about the outcome of the 2013 programme. They instructed the Secretariat to implement the programme for 2014-2015 and to report in due course to the GR-DEM.

Ukraine

At their 1215bis meeting (17 December 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1215bis/2.1bis), the Deputies took note with satisfaction of the final report on the implementation of the Action Plan 2011-2014 for Ukraine (ODGProg/Inf(2014)14).

At their 1210th meeting (22 and 24 October 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1210/2.1bis a), the Deputies took note of the interim report on the implementation of the package of immediate measures in Ukraine (ODGProg/Inf(2014)11) and welcomed the contributions made to the funding of these activities. They instructed the Secretariat to continue the implementation of the activities for the full attainment of the objectives set in the document entitled “Co-operation with Ukraine – Immediate Measures Package” (ODGProg/Inf(2014)7), particularly in the field of electoral assistance in the context of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 26 October 2014. The Deputies invited the Secretariat to prepare in due course a final report on the implementation of the immediate measures package and, in close co-ordination with the Ukrainian authorities, to prepare proposals for a new action plan in Ukraine for 2015-2017 to be examined by the GR-DEM.

Compliance with member States' commitments

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Relations with non-member States

Belarus

At their 1190th meeting (5 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1190/2.4), the Deputies invited Belarus to sign the Council of Europe Convention on the Counterfeiting of Medical Products and Similar Crimes Involving Threats to Public Health (CETS No. 211). They agreed, in accordance with their decisions of 10 April 2013 on the review of Council of Europe conventions, that the decision to invite Belarus to sign the Council of Europe Convention on the Counterfeiting of Medical Products and Similar Crimes Involving Threats to Public Health is valid five years as from its adoption.

At their 1190th meeting (5 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1190/2.1bis), the Deputies took note of the report on the Council of Europe’s activities in Belarus in 2012-2013 (ODGProg/Inf(2013)19). The Deputies called upon the Belarussian authorities to take advantage of these activities with a view to respecting the Council of Europe values and standards, in particular regarding the establishment of a moratorium as a first step towards the abolition of the death penalty. They instructed the Secretariat to prepare proposals for the continuation of these activities in 2014-2015 in the priority areas for co-operation between the Council of Europe and Belarus, with a view to their examination by the GR-DEM.

Kosovo1

Relations with international organisations

European Union

At its 124th Session (6 May 2014) (CM/PV(2014)124add1 item 4), the Committee of Ministers took note with appreciation of the development of the co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union (CM(2014)38).

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

At their 1211th meeting (12 November 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1211/2.3), the Deputies took note of the report of the Chair on the results of the 20th meeting of the Co-ordination Group between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Vienna, 31 October 2014) (CM/Inf(2014)29). They took note that the Co-ordination Group will meet in Strasbourg in the first half of 2015 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 1197th meeting (16 April 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1197/2.3), the Deputies took note of the report of the Chairs on the 19th meeting of the Co-ordination Group between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Strasbourg, 28 March 2014) (CM/Inf(2014)8). They took note that the Co-ordination Group will meet in Vienna in Autumn 2014 to examine co-operation in the areas of the fight against terrorism and action against trafficking in human beings.

United Nations

At their 1205th meeting (9 July 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1205/2.3), 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. They 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, and 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. They expressed the wish that the draft resolution would also be co-sponsored by observer States and 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 1211th meeting (12 November 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1211/2.1), the Deputies took note of the Secretary General’s tenth consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia (SG/Inf(2014)41).

At its 124th Session (6 May 2014) (CM/PV(2014)124add1 item 2), the Committee of Ministers took note of the consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia (October 2013 – March 2014) of the Secretary General (SG/Inf(2014)17).

At their 1198th meeting (29-30 April and 2 May 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1198/2.1), the Deputies reiterated their unequivocal support to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. They recalled that the right to voluntarily return in safety and dignity for IDPs and refugees is an important humanitarian issue.

The Deputies expressed their concern at continued violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of those residing within the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and in the adjacent areas, including, but not limited to, the freedom of movement, the right to property, the right to family life, the right to education in native language and other rights caused by, inter alia, installation of barbwire fences and other artificial obstacles by the Russian Federation. They stressed the need of the de-installation of obstacles which, inter alia, cause violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Deputies encouraged the Government of Georgia to further strengthen its efforts to reach out to the population of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by enhancing humanitarian activities and reaffirmed their support for further confidence-building measures. They encouraged the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe to monitor the human rights situation in the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia and to report regularly on the situation. The Deputies underlined the importance of securing access by the relevant Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms to the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia and of reporting back on their findings.

The Deputies decided to continue discussing regularly, inter alia, the questions of human rights protection in the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia and encouraged the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to continue the submission of his biannual consolidated reports to the Committee of Ministers that cover, inter alia, the question of human rights protection in the areas affected by the conflict in Georgia.

Situation in Ukraine

Please see under Section 1.

At their 1198th meeting (29-30 April and 2 May 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1198/2.1bis), the Deputies adopted the Declaration by the Committee of Ministers on the detention of military monitors on a mission to Eastern Ukraine on the basis of the OSCE Vienna document of 2011.

Policy of the Council of Europe towards neighbouring regions

At their 1215th meeting (9-10 December 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1215/2.3), the Deputies welcomed the successful implementation of the co-operation priorities 2012-2014 for Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan (ODGProg/Inf(2014)15, ODGProg/Inf(2014)16 and ODGProg/Inf(2014)17). They instructed the GR-EXT to complete the preparation of the draft partnership documents with Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan for the period 2015-2017 in order to submit them rapidly for examination.

At its 124th Session (6 May 2014) (CM/PV(2014)124add1 item 5), the Committee of Ministers welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions – North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia – and expressed its appreciation for the financial contributions made by member States and the European Union in this context. 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 it at its next Session.

European Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR)

At their 1204th meeting (2-3 July 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1204/2.3), the Deputies took note of the abridged report of the 1st meeting of the CDDG (CM(2014)52) and of the explanatory document provided by the Secretariat (DGII/Inf(2014)13 rev).

At their 1190th meeting (5 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1190/2.3b), the Deputies:

As regards the report on the impact of changing economic fortunes on local budgets and proposals for policy responses (Addendum I to CM(2013)172)

1. took note of the policy proposals developed by the CDLR and agreed to transmit them to member States for future consideration by governments and by local and regional authorities;

As regards the report on strengthening awareness-raising of the human rights dimension of local and regional governance (Addendum II to CM(2013)172)

2. noted with interest the good practices identified and collated by the CDLR and agreed to transmit them to member States as examples to help the effective promotion of the highest standards of human rights compliance at every level of governance;

As regards the report on initiatives to strengthen good governance, capacity building and citizen’s democratic participation at local level (Addendum III to document CM(2013)172)

3. agreed to transmit to member States the measures to promote good governance identified by the CDLR for future consideration by governments and by local and regional authorities and to the CDDG with a view to making use of them in the context of its future work, in particular through peer reviews and sharing of experience;

As regards the activities to help to overcome obstacles to transfrontier co-operation (Addendum IV to CM(2013)172)

4. approved the publication of the manual on removing obstacles to cross-border co-operation.

In the light of decisions 1 to 4 above, the Deputies took note of the abridged report of the 52nd meeting of the CDLR (CM(2013)172) as a whole and noted with satisfaction that the CDLR has fully implemented its terms of reference (Appendix II to CM(2013)172).

At their 1190th meeting (5 February 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1190/2.3a), the Deputies invited the CDDG, in co-operation with the Congress and the other bodies participating in the Stakeholders’ Platform for Innovation and Good Governance, to examine ways of simplifying the tools and procedures used for the promotion of the twelve principles of good democratic governance at local level, as well as means to increase their visibility, and to report to the GR-DEM by the end of 2014.

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 1210th meeting (22 and 24 October 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1210/2.5), the Deputies took note of the interim report of the Secretary General on the implementation of the new line of action for the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre), (SG/Inf(2014)31).

At their 1206th meeting (10 September 2014) (CM/Del/Dec(2014)1206/7.1), the Deputies took note of the request of Tunisia to be invited to join the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre) and noted that the member States of the Council of Europe which are members of the Centre unanimously agreed in principle to granting this request. They instructed the Secretariat to consult the non-member States which are members of the Partial Agreement, i.e. the Holy See, Morocco and Cape Verde at the 10th meeting of the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre, to be held on 26 September 2014 and agreed that, if there was no objection from the non-member States consulted, the decision to invite Tunisia to accede to the North-South Centre would be regarded as adopted on 8 October 2014, at their 1209th meeting. The Deputies agreed to resume consideration of this item if the non-member States consulted raise an objection concerning the accession of Tunisia to the Partial Agreement.

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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