12 December 1994

Doc. 7204

COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS

Interim reply to Recommendation 1250 (1994) on the enlargement of the Council of Europe and budgetary prospects
(adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 5 December 1994 at the 522nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)


      The Committee of Ministers has examined with particular attention Recommendation 1250(1994) on the enlargement of the Council of Europe and the budgetary prospects. It has decided to bring it to the attention of the Governments of member states.

      At the Committee of Ministers' 95th Session (10 November 1994), the Ministers considered a first report of their Deputies on the political and institutional effects of the enlargement which the Council of Europe will experience, as well as the growing involvement of the Organisation in the establishment of a more stable democratic Europe. They welcomed the first results achieved, and invited the Deputies to accomplish their work, in particular on the more political aspects of these effects, before the May 1995 ministerial meeting.

      Among the decisions taken following the Ministers' Deputies' first report on the effects of enlargement, it has to be said that the Deputies have defined a new method of calculating the contribution scheme of member states to the Council of Europe budgets. The new system set up by Resolution (94) 31 of the Committee of Ministers is a response to the Parliamentary Assembly's concerns and establishes a fairer distribution among member states of contributions to the Council of Europe's budgets. In this respect the Deputies recalled the principle according to which the countries of the "big payers" group are subjected to identical contribution rates.

      The Committee of Ministers draws the Parliamentary Assembly's attention to the decision taken on 10 November 1994 (95th Ministerial Session) on the application of Article 9 of the Council of Europe's Statute: "The Committee of Ministers has agreed that apart from exceptional circumstances having prevented a member state from fulfilling its obligation, Article 9 of the Council of Europe's Statute will be applied to any state which has failed to fulfil all or a substantial part of its financial obligation for a period of two years."

      Moreover, the Ministers' Deputies decided at their 521st meeting (November 1994) that, in addition to its existing mandate, their Working Party on Budgetary Procedure will also look into possibilities for financing certain Council of Europe activities from alternative sources.

      The Ministers' Deputies have also adopted decisions allowing them to limit the number of cases to which the unanimity rule will be applied in the voting procedures. Thus they have agreed in future to adopt replies to the Parliamentary Assembly with the majority of two thirds provided for in Article 20 (d) of the Statute.

      The Deputies have also adopted decisions aiming at considerably reducing the delays of putting Council of Europe documents at the public's disposal with the aim of enhancing the transparency of work.

      Concerning the effects of enlargement on the Secretariat and the question of official languages and additional working languages, the Ministers' Deputies have instructed their Ad hoc Working Party on the effects of enlargement of the Council of Europe and their Rapporteur Group on administrative questions to carry on and accomplish their work with a view to the Committee of Ministers' 96th Session (11 May 1995). With this viewpoint, they transmitted Recommendation 1250 (1994) to the two above-mentioned groups for examination. The Deputies have also invited the Secretary General to make his own contribution to the discussion on the effects of enlargement, particularly from the political point of view.

      The Committee of Ministers will give a supplementary reply to the Parliamentary Assembly in the light of the results of the work in progress.