Doc. 10479

22 March 2005

Relations between Europe and the United States

Recommendation 1694 (2005)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 919th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (16 March 2005)

1.       The Committee of Ministers shares the concern to step up dialogue and exchanges between Europe and the United States that underpins the Assembly’s Recommendation 1694 (2005). It considers that, over and above the part played in this respect by other international organisations, the Council of Europe can make a special contribution, in view of the values it shares with the United States but also of the Council's distinctive features.

2.       With regard to the recommendations in paragraph 2.i. of the Assembly text, in particular the recommendation that the United States be invited to be represented at Committee of Ministers’ sessions, it is recalled that Statutory Resolution (93) 26 on observer status, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 14 May 1993, stipulates that such status "gives no right to be represented on the Committee of Ministers or the Parliamentary Assembly unless a specific decision has been taken by one of these organs on its own behalf". It is accordingly up to the Committee of Ministers to decide, on an ad hoc basis, whether or not it is desirable to invite observer states to its sessions, in the light of the session agenda and the political priorities of the moment. The Assembly is informed that the United States has been invited to attend Committee of Ministers’ sessions on several occasions in recent years. The Committee of Ministers will certainly renew this invitation at future sessions if it sees fit to do so.

3.       As for the recommendation in paragraph 2.ii. to the effect that the Committee of Ministers "consider inviting the United States Government to be represented in the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe", the Committee of Ministers would inform the Assembly that a decision to invite the Heads of State or Government of observer countries, including the United States, to the Summit was taken at the 899th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies (13 October 2004).