Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
Rapporteur Group on Administrative and Budgetary Questions
GR-AB(2004)CB8 24 June 2004
Meeting of 17 June 2004
The Rapporteur Group on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (GR-AB) met on 17 June 2004, with Ambassador Zoltan Taubner, Permanent Representative of Hungary, in the chair. The Group considered the following items in the light of the draft annotated agenda (document GR-AB(2004)16).
1. Priorities for 2005 – Budgetary implications
(CM(2004)59, CM/Del/Dec(2004)883/1.7 and GR-AB(2004)CB6)
1.1. The Group continued its examination of the Secretary General's proposals for the Priorities for 2005 – budgetary implications. Debate concentrated on the question of the growth rate for the core budget and the Budget Committee's observations in its May 2004 meeting report (CM(2004)94).
1.2. Noting the explanations provided by the Secretariat, the Chair concluded that to avoid confusion it would be useful for future discussions to have a table which clearly showed how the 2003 unspent balance had been taken into account in 2005, together with an explanation of the proposed level of the 2005 negative reserve.
2. Meeting report of the Budget Committee (10-12 May 2004)
2.1. In response to a request from a couple of delegations, a summary table of voluntary contributions for the last 3 financial years is attached as Appendix 1.
2.2. Summing up the Group's examination of this item, the Chair noted that the Group could recommend to the Deputies to take note of the meeting report of the Budget Committee as set out in the document CM(2004)94. One delegation indicated to the Group that it might make proposals – without specifying what these would be – for supplementary draft decisions on certain aspects of the report.
3. Co-ordinating Committee on Remuneration (CCR) - Daily rates of subsistence allowance – Exceptional review at 1st July 2004 - 155th report
3.1. The question was raised as to the appropriateness of expressing daily allowances for certain European countries in US dollars opposed to the Euro and it was agreed that this matter should be raised with the CCR. With this in mind, the Chair noted that the Group could recommend that the Deputies approve the revised rates for daily allowances as set out in paragraph 5 of the 155th report of the CCR.
4. Creation of a Forum for Roma and Travellers – Budgetary Implications
4.1. The Group had a discussion on the basis of document GT-ROMS(2004)4 revised which sets out proposals concerning the Council of Europe's contribution to a possible European Forum for Roma and Travellers. The Chair drew the Group's attention to two options set out in paragraph 7 of that document, namely:
Option 1. "the Council of Europe contribution in terms of staff, accommodation and logistical support would be treated as a contribution in kind, in addition to the €200 000. The latter amount would be treated as a grant towards the cost of the Forum activities set out in the table […]. The costs indicated for these activities are estimates only, and should actual costs exceed the estimates the excess would be covered by the Forum's own resources";
Option 2. "as 1. above, except that the Council of Europe would approve and guarantee the financing of the programme as set out in the table below, any actual expenditure in excess of the € 200 000 estimated being covered by transfers of appropriations within Vote II of the budget".
4.2. The Chair invited delegations to indicate their preference with regard to the two options and to give an indication as to the amount which could be dedicated to this activity. In this respect, he recalled that a provision for the European Forum of Roma and Travellers of € 200 000 had been made in the 2004 Ordinary Budget, in particular towards the costs of a constituent meeting of the Forum; secretariat needs being met by redeployment. Similar provisions are proposed in the Secretary General's proposals for priorities for 2005.
4.3. Summing up the ensuing debate, the Chair noted that a couple of delegations expressed their preference for option 1 above. Following requests of a number of delegations he invited the Secretariat to distribute a revised document including the following information:
- the non-papers of Switzerland and Portugal distributed at earlier meetings of the GT-ROMS;
- clarification on the issues of having NGO offices on the Council of Europe's premises;
- clarification on the issues of having Council of Europe staff members working for an NGO;
- an estimate of the total cost of all non-cash contributions, such as office space;
- complementary budgetary information for Roma activities (MG-S-ROM etc).
4.4. The Chair invited delegations to seek instructions upon receipt of the above clarifications so that this Group might reach a conclusion at a forthcoming meeting.
5. Revision of Resolution(76)4 on consultants and new resolution on outsourcing contracts to external service providers
(CM(2004)105 and Resolution(76)4)
5.1. Item postponed.
6. Any other business
Language Courses: it was agreed that the Secretariat distribute an information document in response to questions raised by a number of delegations with regard to language training.
7. Date of the next meeting