1. The Committee on Culture, Science and Education
welcomes the report of the Political Affairs Committee as a timely
and important initiative for a thorough analysis of the changes
in European integration achieved by the entry into force of the
Lisbon Treaty nearly two years ago. The European Union has not only grown
in membership, but has also considerably enlarged its own legislative
powers and its internal democratic processes.
2. Human rights and criminal law, which have been domains of
excellence of European co-operation established by the Council of
Europe over decades, are now also within European Union competence.
Culture, education and sport remain sectors where subsidiarity fully
applies and harmonisation of national legislation is expressly excluded
from EU competences. However, Article 165(3) and Article 167(3)
of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union stipulate
that the European Union and its member states shall foster co-operation
with the Council of Europe in these sectors.
3. The European Union also participates in the Bologna Process,
especially through the provision of huge funds to, for example,
the Erasmus student exchange programme. The legal backbone of the
Bologna Process is, however, the Council of Europe’s Cultural Convention
(ETS No. 18) of 1954 and the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications
concerning Higher Education in the European Region (ETS No. 165)
of 1997. This task-sharing between the European Union and the Council
of Europe (or rather the ministries and parliaments represented
in the Council of Europe) is in line with Articles 165 and 167 of
the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
4. Through the Lisbon Treaty, the legislative function of the
European Parliament has been strengthened and more emphasis is now
placed on co-operation with national parliaments of EU member states.
In addition, co-operation is also maintained in the framework of
the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Union for the Mediterranean. Therefore, intensified inter-parliamentary
co-operation is necessary.
5. The committee regrets that the reform of the intergovernmental
sector of the Council of Europe was accomplished before the present
analysis of the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the Council of Europe. However,
the committee believes that the statutory function of the Assembly
is well pursued by raising political initiatives with the Committee
of Ministers and member parliaments on the basis of this report.
6. Therefore, the committee proposes a few amendments to the
excellent report prepared by Ms Kerstin Lundgren for the Political