Doc. 10539
4 May 2005

Monarchy and democracy

Motion for a resolution
presented by Mr Platvoet and others

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

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe considers that:

Eleven of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe are a monarchy;

The royal families of these monarchies deliver automatically the head of state of these member states, so the function of head of state is hereditary;

The function of head of state in these monarchies is not bound to a certain period so the head of state in a monarchy can be in office for decades;

The function of a head of state in a monarchy differs: according to the Dutch Constitution the King is part of the government, appoints and dismisses ministers, signs the laws and is the president of the most important advisory body of the government, while the King of Sweden only has ceremonial tasks;

Monarchies put the separation between Church and State to the test: the Danish Constitution declares that the Danish King should be Lutheran-protestant, the King of England is head of the Anglican Church and in the Netherlands every law has a preamble in which the King announce the law “by the mercy of God”;

Article 25 of the International Treaty of the United Nations (Civil and political rights) says: "Every citizen has the right (…) to be appointed in civil services of his country";

Heredity of the function of head of state is contrary to the principle that every political function should be within reach of every citizen (non-discrimination) and that this function should be obtained through (direct or indirect) elections.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe therefore underlines that:

The monarchy as a form of government raises questions of democratic principles, certainly when it comes to the practice of political functions such as the membership of the government;

It is recommended to make a survey of the political position of the royal families in the eleven monarchies in Europe.

Signed 1:

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