Doc. 10529

27 April 2005

The Holy See and respect for the basic values of the Council of Europe

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mrs Hägg and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       The Holy See was granted observer status with the Council of Europe on 7 March 1970 in order to allow the participation of its representatives in several intergovernmental activities. In 1993, the Committee of Ministers regulated the granting of observer status with Statutory Resolution (93) 26 on observer status. In accordance with this Resolution, a state wishing to become a Council of Europe observer state has to be willing to accept the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

2.       As the Holy See was granted a special observer status with the Council of Europe before the status of observer was officially created, some flexibility is obviously necessary when applying ex post requirements to the Holy See. Nevertheless, in view of the rights and prestige observer status confers, it can be expected of any observer to the Council of Europe that it observes the most basic values the Council of Europe is founded on and defends. One of these basic values is pluralist participatory democracy, which includes full access of both women and men to decision-making. However, the leadership of the Holy See is not democratically elected. Most obviously, women are excluded from leading positions.

3.       The Parliamentary Assembly thus recommends that the Committee of Ministers enter into a dialogue with the authorities of the Holy See in order to ascertain how the requirements of Statutory Resolution (93) 26 can be fully respected, and offer any assistance necessary to reach this aim.

Signed 1:

HÄGG, Carina, Sweden, SOC

AHLQVIST, Birgitta, Sweden, SOC

ČURDOVÁ, Anna, Czech Republic, SOC

de ZULUETA, Tana, Italy, SOC

ERR, Lydie, Luxembourg, SOC

HAGBERG, Michael, Sweden, SOC

JONKER, Corien W.A., Netherlands, EPP/CD

LINDBLAD, Göran, Sweden, EPP/CD

OHLSSON, Carina, Sweden, SOC

ÖHMAN, Conny, Sweden, SOC

ZAPFL-HELBLING, Rosmarie, Switzerland, EPP/CD


1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group