Recommendation 1839 (2008)1

State of democracy in Europe

Specific challenges facing European democracies: the case of diversity and migration


1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1617 (2008). It also recalls its previous resolutions and recommendations addressing the question of democracy, migration and political participation of migrants.

2. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers calls on member states to give appropriate follow-up to the issues raised in Resolution 1617 (2008), and to take the necessary steps to strengthen their democratic processes.

3. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers, taking advantage of its unique position as a forum for pan-European co-operation, initiate the following activities:

3.1. harmonisation among Council of Europe member states of systems for collecting and processing data on migrants;

3.2. elaboration of guidelines on registration and status of long-term lawful foreign residents in Council of Europe member states;

3.3. promotion of less restrictive access to citizenship and harmonisation of naturalisation systems, in particular regarding the length of required residence, also considering the “dependent” status of many migrant women, so as to make the situation more equitable across the member states, as well as the criteria for defining the degree of integration of the person concerned;

3.4. promotion of harmonisation of rules regarding voting and political rights of foreigners across the member states;

3.5. gender-sensitive research on political participation of migrants and people of migrant origin at different levels of political representation and of the decision-making process;

3.6. encouraging governments to follow the example of the Netherlands Government and to carry out a self-evaluation of the quality of democracy in their states according to the guidelines elaborated by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

4. Moreover, the Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to provide the necessary resources and make full use – in co-operation with other partners – of the Forum for the Future of Democracy as a tool for the further development of democracy in Europe, and to devote one of its future sessions to the challenge which migration poses to democratic systems.


1. Assembly debate on 25 June 2008 (23rd Sitting) (see Doc. 11623, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Gross; and Doc. 11653, opinion of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, rapporteur: Mrs Memecan). Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 June 2008 (24th Sitting).