Ministers’ Deputies
    CM Documents

    CM(2002)155 5 December 2002
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    Working methods
    Ministers’ Deputies’ Rapporteur Groups,
    Rapporteurs and Working Parties

    Vademecum

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    The purpose of this document, which supplements the previous Compendium of Procedures (CM(99)167), is to provide the chairs of the Ministers’ Deputies’ subsidiary groups and rapporteurs with the necessary information to assist them in their duties.

    Structure of the document

    1. Membership of Rapporteur Groups

    2. Chairs of Rapporteur Groups

    a) Selection procedure
    b) Length of chairmanship
    c) Duties
    d) Absence

    3. Responsibilities and powers of Rapporteur Groups

    4. Functioning of Rapporteur Groups

    a) Organisation of work
    b) Meetings
    c) Languages
    d) Agenda
    e) Documentation

    5. Rapporteurs

    a) Appointment
    b) Term of office
    c) Terms of reference
    d) Working methods

    6. Working Parties

    a) Membership
    b) Chair
    c) Terms of reference
    d) Working methods

    Appendix: List of Ministers’ Deputies’ subsidiary groups and Rapporteurs

    1. Membership of Rapporteur Groups

    Rapporteur Groups are open to all delegations wishing to take part in the activities 1 , and to states enjoying observer status with the Committee of Ministers 2 . Their members shall be permanent representatives or their deputies. They will be assisted by the Secretariat (and, where necessary, the Chair or members of committees of experts).

    2. Chairs of Rapporteur Groups

    a. Selection procedure 3

    Whenever the Chair of a Rapporteur Group becomes vacant, any candidate interested in the position may notify the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies accordingly.

    The Deputies’ Bureau selects Chairs of Rapporteur Groups in accordance with the following criteria: seniority, qualifications, availability and stated interest in the field of activities.

    The outgoing Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies may be offered the Chairmanship of a group, regardless of his/her seniority.

    The Bureau submits recommendations to the Ministers’ Deputies who then take a decision.

    b. Length of chairmanship3

    The term of office of each Chair of a Rapporteur Group is two years, in principle non-renewable, from the date of his/her nomination by the Deputies. This period may, however, be extended by the Ministers’ Deputies in exceptional cases, where continuity in the activities embarked upon by a particular group is required.

    c. Duties3

    Within each Rapporteur Group the Chair has an instigating and guiding role in the group's sphere of work. He or she reports to the Ministers’ Deputies on the group's work when the items that the group has prepared come up for discussion.

    Where appropriate, the Chair of each Rapporteur Group and the Group itself may make any contact outside the Council of Europe. Such contacts are made after consulting the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies in good time, who may decide to refer the matter to the Bureau and, if necessary, the Ministers’ Deputies. These contacts should not interfere with the statutory role of the Secretary General when representing the Organisation.

    d. Absence3

    The absence of a Rapporteur Group Chair should not prevent the group from meeting when necessary. Therefore a Vice-Chair can be appointed to stand in for the Chair in case of absence. Any appointment is made in close consultation with the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies.

    If both the Chair and Vice-Chair of a Rapporteur Group are absent or unavailable, it is recommended that a replacement be appointed on an ad hoc basis.

    3. Responsibilities and powers of Rapporteur Groups 4

    Each Rapporteur Group deals, in close contact with the Secretary General, with matters falling within its field of activity. As such, it plays a part in the supervision of progress and results of the major projects and other programme of activities items.

    Rapporteur Groups may engage in general policy discussions of relevance to their sectors of activity. They will develop their activities in contact with:

    - the Parliamentary Assembly, its committees, their chairs and Rapporteurs, and, mutatis mutandis,
    - the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and its bodies, as well as with
    - steering committees, their Bureaux and chairs,
    - conferences of specialised ministers and their preparatory committees.

    Rapporteur Groups are responsible for maintaining dialogue with the steering committees and partial agreements (working in their respective sector of activities); this shall include, where necessary, the holding of hearings.

    Rapporteur Groups may appoint working parties or Rapporteurs for a fixed time, after consultation with the Bureau, to consider specific issues within the Group’s field of competence 5 .

    Rapporteur Groups have no decision-making power.

    The Secretariat 6 is responsible inter alia for:

    - providing general services such as preparation and distribution of documents to be discussed by Rapporteur Groups, including synopses of meetings;
    - convening Rapporteur Groups meetings in accordance with the general practices of good management;
    - where appropriate and under the supervision of the Bureau, co-ordinating the work of the different Rapporteur Groups.

    4. Functioning of Rapporteur Groups

    a. Organisation of work5

    Work is organised on the following lines:

    - Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies and Bureau (under the supervision of the Ministers' Deputies): co-ordination of Rapporteur Groups' responsibilities;

    - Rapporteur Groups:

    ▪ forums for information exchange and identifying problems,
    ▪ preparing Ministers’ Deputies' discussions, with the aim, ideally, of drawing up draft decisions grouped in a box in the draft order of business to be presented to the Ministers’ Deputies for adoption without debate,
    ▪ no rules of procedure, and in particular no rule on quorums.

    If a delegation considers it necessary, after the Rapporteur Group meeting, to continue discussion on an item at plenary level, the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies and the Chair of the Group should be informed accordingly and if possible this fact should be mentioned in the synopsis of the meeting;

    - Ministers' Deputies: adoption of Decisions, discussion of general policy matters and rulings on questions not resolved within the Rapporteur Groups.

    b. Meetings

    The frequency of meetings varies according to the Group. Some meet regularly (e.g. twice a month); others meet only when required to prepare specific items on the Ministers’ Deputies’ agenda.

    In general terms, each Group may agree on a frequency in keeping with its volume of work and, in consultation with the Secretariat, decide on the dates of its meetings. There are no meetings on Monday mornings and on Friday afternoons, unless a derogation is obtained after consultation with the Bureau of the Ministers’ Deputies.

    The Chair of the Deputies takes the final decision if there are several requests for the same date.

    c. Languages

    With the exception of the meetings of the GR-EDS and unless there is an express request from the Chair of a particular group, meetings are held without interpretation.

    d. Agenda 7

    Rapporteur Groups’ agendas are in principle drawn up at the instigation of the Ministers' Deputies or the Deputies' Bureau.

    Within their particular spheres of activity (see 3. above), the Chair of each Rapporteur Group and the Group itself has room for initiative. In the interest of consistency, however, they keep the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies informed of their draft agendas, and he or she may decide to consult the Bureau and, if necessary, the Ministers' Deputies.

    e. Documentation

    Convocations to and synopses of the meetings of the Rapporteur Groups are issued under the responsibility of each group’s Chair. Copies thereof are sent to all delegations and, where appropriate, to observers, in order to ensure that they are kept regularly informed of the work in progress in the different groups 8 .

    At their meetings, Rapporteur Groups endeavour to make use of annotated agendas and Chairs of the Deputies' Rapporteur Groups seek to comply with a deadline for circulation of working papers for their groups, similar to that applicable to Notes on the Agenda for meetings of the Ministers' Deputies. The deadline may nonetheless be applied more flexibly according to the urgency of the subject to be discussed 9 .

    Meeting synopses should provide a succinct record of the content of the debates without, as far as possible, identifying the delegations concerned.

    5. Rapporteurs8

    a. Appointment

    Rapporteurs may be appointed from among the Permanent Representatives and Deputy Permanent Representatives. As in the case of the Chairs of the Rapporteur Groups, it will be helpful if prospective candidates notify the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies of their interest in these positions (see also 2.a above).

    b. Term of office

    The term of office of each Rapporteur is, in principle, three years not renewable, from the date of his/her nomination by the Deputies. This period may be extended by the Deputies in exceptional cases where continuity in the activities embarked upon by a particular rapporteur is required.

    c. Terms of reference

    Rapporteurs may be asked to consider matters relating to the Deputies’ work, on the basis of the principle of individual work – collective decision. They work in close contact with the Secretary General and the relevant Secretariat departments and, where this proves necessary, place at the disposal of the plenary committee their experience in their specific field.

    Each Rapporteur addresses issues within his/her remit. Rapporteurs may make contact with any internal Council of Europe body as appropriate.

    Where necessary, Rapporteurs may make any contact outside the Council of Europe after consulting the Chair of the Ministers’ Deputies in good time, who may decide to refer the matter to the Bureau and, if necessary, the Ministers' Deputies. These contacts should not interfere with the statutory role of the Secretary General when representing the Organisation.

    Rapporteurs may also be appointed, for a fixed period of time, after consulting the Bureau, to consider specific issues discussed within the Rapporteur Groups (see 3. above).

    d. Working methods

    To perform their assignments Rapporteurs may consult the delegations as necessary and, if appropriate, convene informal meetings. Before any such meeting, Rapporteurs should issue to delegations a convocation and, where appropriate, an annotated draft agenda.

    The same procedure for informing the Chair of the Deputies as that chosen for the Rapporteur Groups applies to Rapporteurs’ draft agendas.

    The Rapporteurs may present a report to the Deputies in writing, possibly for consideration without debate. The report indicates in particular the outcome of any consultations, including the results obtained from informal meetings held.

    6. Working Parties 10

    a. Membership

    Working Party membership may be restricted or open, as decided by the Ministers’ Deputies. The latter also decide on whether observers can take part in the activities of the Working Parties.

    b. Chair

    Rules regarding appointment and duties of the Chairs of Rapporteur Groups (see 2. above) apply to Chairs of Working Parties.

    Chairs of Working Parties set up by Rapporteur Groups are appointed by the relevant Rapporteur Group, after consultation with the Bureau of the Deputies.

    c. Terms of reference

    Terms of reference of Working Parties refer to specific tasks relating to the work of the Deputies or of a Rapporteur Group. The duration of Working Parties is in principle stipulated when they are set up. They may, as in the case of Rapporteur Groups and Rapporteurs, be asked to consider matters relating to their specific task.

    d. Working methods

    Working Parties will implement the same methods and procedures as those laid down for the Rapporteur Groups and Rapporteurs.

    Appendix

    List of Ministers’ Deputies’ subsidiary groups and rapporteurs

    Groupes de rapporteurs / Rapporteur Groups

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur les questions administratives et budgétaires (GR-AB) / Rapporteur Group on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (GR-AB)

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur l’Education, la Culture, le Sport, la Jeunesse et l’Environnement (GR-C) / Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment (GR-C)

    Groupe de rapporteurs pour la stabilité démocratique (GR-EDS) / Rapporteur Group for Democratic Stability (GR-EDS)

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur les relations entre le Conseil de l’Europe et l’Union européenne (GR-EU) / Rapporteur Group on Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union (GR-EU)

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur les Droits de l’Homme (GR-H) / Rapporteur Group on Human Rights (GR-H)

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur la coopération juridique (GR-J) / Rapporteur Group on Legal Co-operation (GR-J)

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur les relations entre le Conseil de l’Europe et l’OSCE (GR-OSCE) / Rapporteur Group on Relations between the Council of Europe and the OSCE (GR-OSCE)

    Groupe de rapporteurs sur les questions sociales et de santé (GR-SOC) / Rapporteur Group on Social and Health Questions (GR-SOC)

    Groupes de travail / Working parties

    Groupe de travail ad hoc pour examiner la révision de la méthode de calcul des barèmes de contributions des États membres aux budgets du Conseil de l’Europe telle qu’instituée par la Résolution (94) 31 (GT-BS) / Ad hoc Working Group to examine the revision of the method of calculating the scales of member states’ contributions to Council of Europe budget as laid down in Resolution (94) 31 (GT-BS)

    Groupe de Travail ad hoc chargé d’examiner les propositions du Secrétaire Général relatives au dialogue multiculturel et inter-religieux (GT-DIALOGUE) / Ad hoc Working Party with the task of examining proposals of the Secretary General on multicultural and inter-religious dialogue (GT-DIALOGUE)

    Groupe de travail spécial et ouvert sur les pensions (GT-P) / Special and open-ended Working Party on Pensions (GT-P)

    Groupe de travail ad hoc sur les réformes institutionnelles (GT-REF.INST.) / Ad hoc Working Party on Institutional Reforms(GT-REF.INST.)

    Groupe de suivi (GT-SUIVI.AGO) (restreint) / Monitoring Group (GT-SUIVI.AGO) (restricted)

    Groupe de travail ad hoc sur les itinéraires culturels (dans le cadre du GR-C) (ouvert) (GT-Routes) / Ad hoc Working Group on cultural routes (in the framework of the GR-C) (open-ended) (GT-Routes)

    Rapporteurs

    Rapporteur sur l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes (RAP-EG) / Rapporteur on Equality between Women and Men (RAP-EG)

    Rapporteur sur la Politique d’information (RAP-INF) / Rapporteur on Information Policy (RAP-INF)

    Rapporteur sur les pouvoirs locaux et régionaux (RAP-LOC) / Rapporteur on Local and Regional Authorities (RAP-LOC)

    Rapporteur sur la coopération dans le bassin méditerranéen (RAP-MED) / Rapporteur on co-operation in the Mediterranean basin (RAP-MED)

    Rapporteur sur les relations entre le Conseil de l’Europe et les ONG (RAP-ONG) / Rapporteur on Relations between the Council of Europe and NGOs (RAP-ONG)

    Rapporteur sur le Programme d’activités (RAP-PROG) / Rapporteur on the Programme of activities
    (RAP-PROG)

    Rapporteur sur les Nations Unies et les organisations sub-régionales européennes (RAP-UNREG) / Rapporteur on United Nations and European sub-regional organisations (RAP-UNREG)

    The procedures described in this document do not necessarily apply to the following bodies:

    Commissions de liaison / Liaison Committees

    Comité de liaison avec la Cour européenne des Droits de l’Homme (CL-CEDH) / Liaison Committee with the European Court of Human Rights (CL-CEDH)

    Commission de Liaison Conseil de l’Europe/OCDE (GR-OECD) / Council of Europe/OECD Liaison Committee (GR-OECD) Composition :Président de la Commission + 8 Ambassadeurs / Chair of the Committee + 8 Ambassadors

    Autres / Other

    Comité des œuvres d’art (C-ARTS) / Committee for Works of Art (C-ARTS)

    Comité de pilotage du Programme des mesures de confiance (CBM) / Steering Group on the Confidence Building Measures Programme (CBM)

Note 1 506th meeting, January 1994, item ADM 3.
Note 2 See Compendium of Procedures: “Participation of observers to subsidiary groups of the Ministers’ Deputies” (CM(99)167). One exception to this rule is the Rapporteur Group on Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union (GR-EU)
Note 3 See Compendium of Procedures (CM(99)167).
Note 4 Resolution (89) 40 on the future role of the Council of Europe in European construction, sections II and IV.
Note 5 See Compendium of Procedures (CM(99)167).
Note 6 Cf Resolution (76) 3 on committee structures, terms of reference and working methods, section V.
Note 7 See Compendium of Procedures (CM(99)167)
Note 8 506th meeting (January 1994), item ADM3
Note 9 See Compendium of Procedures (CM(99)167)
Note 10 See Compendium of Procedures (CM(99)167)


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