Doc. 10584

17 June 2005

Draft Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings

Recommendation 1695 (2005)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 930th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (15 June 2005)

1.       The Committee of Ministers has closely examined Recommendation 1695 (2005) on the draft Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings.1 It is grateful to the Parliamentary Assembly for its commitment to combating this scourge and for its significant contribution to the preparatory work on the convention concerned, as reflected in the present Recommendation and in Opinion No. 253 (2005).

2.       The Committee of Ministers entirely shares the Parliamentary Assembly's view that Europe should "stand united in the fight against the inhuman scourge of trafficking in human beings and protect its victims".

3.       This conviction has led the Committee of Ministers and the OSCE Permanent Council to retain the fight against trafficking in human beings as one of the priority fields in which the two organisations need to reinforce co-operation, in the Joint Declaration they adopted on the eve of the Third Summit. In accordance with the plan identified in this respect at a joint meeting the Committee of Ministers and the OSCE Permanent Council held in Strasbourg on 18 April 2005, the two organisations will work, in the coming months, towards defining concrete arrangements for joint action in the field of trafficking.

4.       In the same spirit, the Committee of Ministers, during the final phases of the drafting of the convention, held intensive consultations with the responsible European Community bodies. These made possible positive clarification of the major issues among the questions raised by the Assembly, inter alia that of follow-up machinery (GRETA and the Committee of the Parties), the relationship between the convention and other international instruments, and amendments to the convention. The European Community and the member states of the European Union also provided every “guarantee [on] the full respect of the convention’s provisions”, in the form of a declaration made when the convention was adopted (see text of the declaration appended).

5.       The Committee of Ministers wishes to emphasise the highly constructive nature of its discussions with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and with the European Commission, which enabled the Council of Europe convention on action against trafficking in human beings to be adopted on 3 May 2005 and opened for signature at the Third Summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government, in Warsaw on 16 May 2005. Fourteen member states have signed it.

6.       What is more, the Summit invited the Council of Europe to strengthen its relations with the European Union so that the Council of Europe’s and the European Union’s achievements and future standard-setting work are taken into account, as appropriate, in each other’s activities. It was further underlined that the legal co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union should be continued and developed, including through increasing complementarity between the legal texts of the European Union and the Council of Europe. It was also emphasised in this context that the European Union would endeavour to transpose those aspects of Council of Europe conventions within its competence into its law. The Committee of Ministers wishes to assure the Assembly that it will take care to preserve and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, the fields of action in which the Council of Europe excels.

Appendix to the reply

In relation to paragraph 3 of Article 40, upon adoption of the convention, the European Community and the member states of the European Union made the following declaration:


1 It should be noted that this wording corresponds to the title of Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1695 (2005), dated 18 March 2005, and that the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 3 May 2005.