893rd meeting – 13 July 2004
Committee of Ministers' thematic monitoring procedure: new modalities
1. The 1994 Committee of Ministers' Declaration on compliance with commitments undertaken by member states is the legal basis for Committee of Ministers' monitoring, with respect to “the commitments to democracy, human rights and the rule of law accepted by the member states under the Council's Statute, the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal instruments” (extract from Preamble to the Declaration).
2. The Committee of Ministers thematic monitoring should be consistent with other monitoring procedures and mechanisms within the Organisation which should, as a whole, be reinforced.
3. Thematic monitoring should be non-discriminatory and more action-oriented.
4. There should be no duplication of work and the principle of subsidiarity should be respected.
5. The Committee of Ministers should maintain overall responsibility for the thematic monitoring exercise.
6. The Human Rights Commissioner could play an increased role at different stages of the thematic monitoring procedure, without prejudice to his/her independence.
7. There should be more concrete follow-up, focused on co-operation and assistance programmes, readjustment of intergovernmental work as well as other specific action the Committee of Ministers may deem appropriate.
8. As regards the procedure (see also attached outline),
i. themes should be specific, clearly defined, focused on issues topical at a European scale and they should respect the principles of non-duplication and subsidiarity; they may be proposed by any delegation, as well as by the Secretary General, following consultations/contacts, as necessary, with other Council of Europe bodies and institutions;
ii. the final decision on the choice of themes should lie exclusively with the Committee of Ministers;
iii. a thematic monitoring report on a theme chosen by the Committee of Ministers, to be prepared on a regular basis by the Secretary General or, if necessary, another Council of Europe organ / institution designated by the Committee of Ministers, should serve as a basis for debate and decisions on follow-up action by the Committee of Ministers. The report should consist of an analysis of major issues within the scope of the theme and be based on the work undertaken by existing Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms. Should the procedure reveal gaps in the Organisation's work programme and its assistance activities, the Committee of Ministers, when deciding on follow-up action, could give the mandate or invite competent Council of Europe mechanisms - in particular Steering Committees - to work on these areas;
iv. pending the Committee of Ministers' debate on the report and decisions on follow-up action, the report should remain confidential. The lifting of the confidentiality will require a decision by the Committee of Ministers. Declassification of the report could be accompanied by the simultaneous publication of any comments and/or additional information by the member states. Increased awareness of the outcome of the Committee of Ministers thematic monitoring exercise and, in particular, of the operational follow-up could, moreover, be ensured through other means, upon ad hoc decisions and modalities agreed to by the Committee of Ministers (for instance, organisation of seminars and/or conferences, transmission of the report to Council of Europe bodies/institutions with competence in the operational follow-up, etc.).
9. There should be regular review of operational follow-up by the Committee of Ministers with a view to identifying progress and proposing further follow-up.
OUTLINE OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS' REVISED THEMATIC MONITORING PROCEDURE