OPINION N° 6
on the principles which should govern relations between the Council of
Europe and non-governmental organisations
Having received the request of the Committee of Ministers for an
Opinion concerning the principles which should govern relations between the
Council of Europe and international non-governmental organisations, Doc.
Having given careful consideration to the Memorandum prepared by the
Secretariat-General and transmitted by the Committee of Ministers on the
subject of relations with the above-mentioned organisations,
Considers that the establishment of official relations with
non-governmental organisations may be of assistance to the Council of Europe in
achioving the aims set out in Article 1 of the Statute ;
Agrees, in particular, that flexibility is necessary in the
arrangements for granting consultative status to non-governmental organisations
and that the proposed arrangements should be as simple as possible ; and
Approves the proposals contained in the Memorandum of the
Secretariat-General subject to the following proposed amendments :
1. Chapter 2, paragraph (a), sub-paragraph 3
The Assembly is not agreed that the words " inter-governmental
organisation " are the most suitable for describing the Council of Europe. It
therefore requests that the word " other " be deleted and the words " a number
of " be inserted instead thereof.
2. Chapter 2, paragraph (a), sub-paragraph 3
Contrary to the view expressed in the memorandum, the Assembly is in
need of, and welcomes, any technical advice and information which may bo
tendered to it. It is therefore recommended that this paragraph be re-drafted.
3. Chapter 2, paragraph (b), sub-paragraph (v)
The Assembly considers that the wording of this sub-paragraph is not
sufficiently clear and that it should be improved to rend as follows ;
The organisation shall have an established headquarters with an
Executive Officer. It shall have a conference, convention or other
policy-making body. The organisation shall have authority to apeak for its
members. Evidence of this authority shall be presented, if required .
4. Chapter 2, paragraph (c)
The Assembly wishes to make some objections to this paragraph. Having
recognised that, owing to the character of the Council of Europe,
non-governmental organisations would " act principally as consultants of the
Assembly itself through the intermediary of its Committees ", (see Chapter 2,
paragraph (a), sub-paragraph 5), the Memorandum proceeds to assign to
the Committee of Ministers the function of determining who shall be the
Assembly's consultants. The Committee of Ministers proposes that it should
first investigate an application by a non-governmental organisation for
consultative status. In the case of a favourable decision the relevant
documents would be transmitted to the Assembly for an opinion. In the case of
an unfavourable opinion, the Assembly would be informed and given reasons. The
Assembly considers that it must be placed on an equal footing with the
Committee of Ministers in any decision to establish relations with
non-governmental organisations. It therefore proposes the following procedure,
which is in accordance with the general pattern of relations between the
Assembly and the Committee of Ministers.
The Secretary-General would assemble the necessary documents and submit
them simultancously to the Assembly and to the Committee of Ministers. The
Assembly, on the basis of a report of its appropriate committee or committees,
would send a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers proposing either the
acceptance or the rejection of the application for consultative status, as the
case might be. In case of disagreement, the matter would be referred, as
suggested in the memorandum of the Secretariat-General, to the Joint Committee
before any final decision was taken.
5. Chapter 3, paragraph (b), sub-paragraph (1) (Categories A, B, and
The Assembly does not think it justified to encourage representatives
of non-governmental organisations to attend the sessions of the Assembly, in so
far as the subjects under discussion are not of immediate interest to their
The Assembly considers that it is sufficient to provide that a
non-governmental organisation may be consulted in writing by the Assembly
Committees and that, if necessary, it may be invited to make a brief oral
statement of its views to this or that Committee.
The Assembly therefore requests the deletion of sub-paragraph (i) of
paragraph (b) of Chapter 3.
. This Opinion was adopted hy the Assembly at its
twenty-second Sitting, on 24th September, 1953 (see Doc, 203, Report of the
Committee on Legal and Administrative Questions).