Doc. 10381

24 January 2005

The Third Summit

Report

Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur: Mr Konstantin Kosachev, Russian Federation, European Democrat Group


Summary

The Third Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government, which will be held in Warsaw on 16-17 May 2005, is expected to address the challenges which Europe will face in the forthcoming years. It should also position the Council of Europe in the European institutional landscape and provide it with a clear plan of action.

The Parliamentary Assembly recommends to include on the Summit’s agenda a number of issues which it considers of utmost relevance and importance for the Council’s future action with a view to building a democratic, united Europe without dividing lines.

I.       Draft recommendation

1. The Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the Committee of Ministers' decision to hold the Third Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government in Warsaw on 16-17 May 2005, at the invitation of the Polish Government. It recalls that the two previous Summits have been a main thrust in the process of integration of the European continent and a number of crucial decisions have been taken on such occasions.

2. The decision to convene the Summit is justified. The objectives set by the First Summit in Vienna in 1993, namely “bringing together on an equal footing and in permanent structures all European countries meeting requirements of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights” has effectively been accomplished.

3. The mandate given by the Second Summit held in Strasbourg in 1997, “strengthening democratic stability in the member states and setting up mechanisms for monitoring procedures of compliance with membership’s obligations and commitments undertaken upon accession”, has also been implemented and relevant mechanisms are operational.

4. The Third Summit taking place in a changing Europe should address the challenges which Europe will be facing and underscore the Council of Europe’s relevance for the continent. It should provide the Organisation with a clear political mandate for the coming years and position it in the European institutional landscape. It should also commit sufficient resources to carry out this mandate.

5. The date of the Third Summit symbolically coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the 15th anniversary of the beginning of democratic transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, thus provides a timely opportunity to stress the unity of Europe based on shared values without dividing lines.

6.       These common values concern, first and foremost, human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Promoting and ensuring respect of these values in Europe is the core statutory mission of the Council of Europe which remains as relevant today as it was in 1949. The Summit should reaffirm the commitment of all member states to these common values and recognise that they are the areas of excellence of the Organisation, as reflected in the unique role it plays on the Continent in the fields of standard-setting, monitoring, awareness-raising and assistance to member states. In view of continuing challenges to these values – of which terrorism is a prominent example – this role needs to be strengthened further and more resources need to be made available for it. The core mission of the Council of Europe cannot be dissociated from important areas such as social cohesion and culture in the broad sense (including education, heritage, arts, science, media, youth and sport) as well as migration and demographic change.

7.       It is particularly important to avoid any form of division between “old” and “new” member states of the Council of Europe. The same standards should be applied to and implemented by all member states.

8.       A codex of key Council of Europe conventions should be elaborated. It should contain concrete deadlines for signature or ratification by those countries which have not done so before the Summit. The various monitoring procedures should be reviewed in order to apply them in a comparable and transparent manner to all member states and their results should be brought together in a comprehensive manner.

9.       The Council of Europe’s assistance programmes should be based on the conclusions of these monitoring procedures and integrated in its intergovernmental work programme; they should be transparent and available to all member states.

10.       The promotion of pluralist democracy, which includes involving the civil society and monitoring the state of democracy in Council of Europe member states, should remain one of the main objectives of the Organisation’s action. An independent body should be set up whose task would consist of evaluating the state of democracy in the member states, publishing reports on a regular basis and proposing measures to be taken.

11.       The geographical enlargement, including the long-term perspective, and the increase in the range of activities and competences of the European Union, carry important consequences for the European institutional architecture. The unique position of the Council of Europe as the only strictly pan-European organisation provides an exceptional opportunity for strengthening political dialogue between the European Union member and non-member states on the basis of common values partnership and mutual interest.

12.       The European Union should consider the Council of Europe as a privileged framework to develop and implement its neighbourhood policy with its partners. In addition, to promote the creation of a single European legal space, the European Union should be invited to accede to all Council of Europe Conventions open to it. The Council of Europe should also establish appropriate instruments to enable the European Union to accede to other conventions, such as the European Cultural Convention.

13.       The Assembly welcomes the recent discussions between the Council of Europe and the OSCE aimed at enhanced co-operation and co-ordination between both Organisations but stresses the importance of closely involving the Parliamentary Assemblies of both Organisations. The Assembly reiterates its support for the adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding based on these principles.

14.       The action of the Council of Europe aimed at strengthening democracy and human rights as well as linguistic and cultural diversity and social cohesion corresponds to the innovative promotion of human security, an essential concern of the United Nations. Moreover, many of its activities such as those on national minorities and promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue are essential to conflict prevention. Consequently, the Council of Europe should declare itself willing to act as a regional organisation within the meaning of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter and its specialist organisations.

15.       Moreover, the Organisation’s action should be oriented in a way to develop partnerships with the countries of Europe’s immediate neighbourhood with a view to pursuing common goals and fruitful co-operation on all matters within the competence of the Council of Europe.

16.       The Assembly is convinced that the Third Summit will give fresh political impetus to the Organisation. The Assembly presents this contribution for the general reflection on the content and possible results of the Summit and expects that its recommendations will be reflected in the final documents of the Summit.

17.       The Assembly calls on national parliaments of Council of Europe member states to organise debates on the Third Summit in order to give political impetus to the run-up to the Summit and to ensure that the Summit generates the necessary political impact.

18.       The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers include the following elements for consideration by Heads of State and Government:

i.        in the draft Declaration:

      i.       include a solemn commitment by member states to resolve existing conflicts between them and within their borders by peaceful means, in accordance with Council of Europe values and the United Nations Charter;


1 This list was transmitted by the Secretary General of the Assembly on the instruction of the Bureau of the Assembly to the Working Group of the Committee of Ministers on the preparation of the 3rd Summit, in June 2004, ands refers to the elements under consideration, at the time, for the Action Plan).