676th meeting - 1-2 and 7 July 1999



(Item 2.4)



Observer status with the Council of Europe

Statutory Resolution (93) 26, on Observer Status (Appendix 1), provides that any State may be granted observer status by the Committee of Ministers if it is willing to accept the principles of (i) democracy; (ii) the rule of law; and (iii) the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and (iv) if it is willing to co-operate with the Council of Europe.

In addition to these criteria, others might be added, notably, the requirement that such States should:

- share Council of Europe values, as reaffirmed in particular in the Final Declaration of the Strasbourg Summit (10-11 October 1997)1, and have a European connection (e.g. political, historical, cultural or economic);

- be willing and able to make a positive contribution to the work of the Council of Europe. The Secretariat should provide an assessment of any assurances given by the applicant in this respect;

- provide evidence of readiness and appropriate means for sustained contacts with the Council of Europe headquarters, preferably through a permanent office in Strasbourg.

As far as the commitments to Council of Europe standards are concerned, an assessment might be made, on the basis of a Secretariat report, of the applicant’s performance with regard to United Nations instruments.

Beyond the contributions paid by the States party to Partial Agreements, and/or Funds of the Council of Europe, applicants should also be aware of the possibility to make voluntary contributions of a financial nature to the implementation of specific Council of Europe programmes or activities.


Observer status with Steering Committees or Committees of Experts

The Committee of Ministers might also bear in mind that, at the request of the Deputies, the CDCC at its 65th session (21-23 January 1997) adopted criteria for the admission of observers to the CDCC, and that the CDDS did likewise at its 20th session (5-6 March 1997). These criteria are reproduced in Appendix 2.


Appendix 1



(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 14 May 1993
at its 92nd Session)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Articles 15.a and 16 of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Having regard to the Parliamentary Assembly’s proposals for institutional reforms within the Council of Europe;

Bearing in mind the changed political situation in Europe and the world;

Convinced that this situation requires increased co-operation between the Council of Europe and non-member states sharing the Organisation’s ideals and values;

Considering that an institutional framework should be given to such co-operation;

Considering that the provisions hereinafter set out are not inconsistent with the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Resolves as follows :

I. Any State willing to accept the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and wishing to co-operate with the Council of Europe may be granted by the Committee of Ministers, after consulting the Parliamentary Assembly, observer status with the Organisation.

II. States enjoying observer status shall be entitled to send observers to those of the Council of Europe Committees of experts which were set up under Article 17 of the Statute and to which all member states are entitled to designate participants.

III. States enjoying observer status shall be entitled, upon invitation by the host country, to send observers to conferences of specialised ministers.

IV. Decisions on inviting states enjoying observer status to participate in the activities of Partial, Enlarged or Enlarged Partial Agreements shall be taken in accordance with the rules applicable to the respective agreement.

V. Observer status gives no right to be represented on the Committee of Ministers or the Parliamentary Assembly unless a specific decision has been taken by one of these organs on its own behalf.

VI. States enjoying observer status may appoint a permanent observer to the Council of Europe.

VII. An international intergovernmental organisation willing to co-operate closely with the Council of Europe and deemed able to make an important contribution to its work, may be granted by the Committee of Ministers, after consulting the Parliamentary Assembly, observer status with the rights set out in Articles II, III and IV for states enjoying observer status.

VIII. The Committee of Ministers may suspend and, after consulting the Parliamentary Assembly, withdraw observer status.


Appendix 2


Apart from States granted observer status under the terms of Statutory Resolution (93) 26, entitlement to take part as observers in the work of the CDCC and/or its specialised committees should be restricted to States showing a genuine interest in this work and likely to make a substantial contribution towards it, based on the criteria outlined in Appendix.

Their interest and contribution should be regularly assessed and particular attention should be paid to any involvement of the country concerned in the financing of certain activities by means of voluntary contributions.

The distribution of Observers between the CDCC and its four Specialised committees should take account of the nature of the interest shown by the country concerned and the respective fields of responsibilities of the various committees. This means that the CDCC would be expected to receive General Observers (under the terms of Statutory Resolution (93) 26), whereas "specialised" Observers (under the terms of Resolution (76) 3), who would generally be assigned to the appropriate Specialised committee or committees, would be invited to attend CDCC meetings if their interest in cultural co-operation had prompted them to finance some of its activities.



1. The first series of criteria for admitting a non-European country as an observer to the CDCC (or to one of the other committees working in the field of European cultural co-operation) should be centred on the actual interest of the country in question. The request should accordingly:

- be reasoned (so that one can gain a clear idea of how this country can transcend mere observation of the CDCC’s work to actually enrich it);

- originate at a sufficient high level (Plenipotentiary Ambassador, specialised Minister) to signify a genuine political determination to obtain observer status.

Any possible prior accession by the requesting country to one or more of the "open" conventions concluded in the CDCC’s fields of action (particularly higher education and the archaeological and architectural heritage) should also be regarded as a tangible sign of the country’s interest in European cultural co-operation.

2. Co-operation within the framework of the European Cultural Convention (ECC) has two main aims : complementing bilateral activities in the study of the languages, history and civilisation of the different Contracting Parties; and establishing a multilateral framework in order not only to encourage the study of the "civilisation which is common" to all the Contracting Parties but also to facilitate the adoption of "a policy of common action designed to safeguard and encourage the development of European culture". These two aims give rise to three further types of criterion:

- the first is the existence of a number of bilateral agreements -or other co-operation mechanisms- or extensive cultural links in the fields covered by the ECC between a non-European State expressing interest in European cultural co-operation and States party to the ECC.

- the second is the situation in the country in question as regards the study of the languages, history and civilisation of different States party to the ECC, and the ease of movement and exchange of persons, objects of cultural value and different forms of cultural expression between the former and the latter;

- the third is the mutual interest for the Council of Europe and for the country in question of the latter’s participation (as an observer to the CDCC) in formulating the "policy of common action designed to safeguard and encourage the development of European culture" provided for in the ECC.

3. Finally, given that contracting Parties to the ECC are democratic States which respect human rights and that the ECC implies acknowledgment of common values for all Europeans, one last series of criteria should relate to the commitment of the requesting country to the priority objectives established for European cultural co-operation in Committee of Ministers Resolution (95) 38 on the Council of Europe’s cultural strategy, in particular:

- fostering democratic values and human rights according to a common cultural approach;

- building confidence and mutual respect between nations and communities footnote 2.




1. The general political, democratic and legal criteria which are in the competence of the Committee of Ministers, together with the criteria in the area of cultural policy laid down by the CDCC, should be satisfied.

2. With respect specifically to observer status with the CDDS, candidate countries should demonstrate the following:

- ability to accept and to fulfil the obligations, and willingness to consider becoming parties to, the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches (ETS No. 120) and the Anti-Doping Convention (ETS No. 135);

- ability to accept the standards laid down in the European Sports Charter, the Code of Sports Ethics, the Manifesto on Young people and sport and other standard- setting texts in the sports sector adopted as Recommendations by the Committee of Ministers;

- existence of a democratically organised, autonomous sports movement;

- capacity to take an active part in the programme of activities of the CDDS;

- for non-European States, a "sporting affinity" with Europe (e.g.: regular sporting contacts).

1. It is recalled in this respect that in this Declaration, the Heads of State and Governments of the Council of Europe member States, inter alia, launched an appeal to "the universal abolition of the death penalty".

2The third priority objective given to the European cultural co-operation by Resolution (95) 38 ("promoting awareness of the cultural community of the new Europe enriched by its diversity") should probably not be the object of a commitment from a non European country.



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