8 March 1993
on the adoption of a revised Statute
of the Council of Europe
(Rapporteur: Lord FINSBERG, United Kingdom, Conservative)
In 1949 the Council of Europe was established to achieve closer unity between its members on the basis of common values: the rule of law, the respect of human rights and the principles of pluralist democracy. The events of 1989 offered the Council of Europe a unique opportunity to extend this unity progressively over the whole of the continent and to promote acceptance of the common values for which the Organisation stands for. To show the new role which has fallen upon the Council of Europe, the Assembly regards the revision of the Statute of the Organisation as essential. It has prepared a draft revised Statute and hopes that it will be adopted on the occasion of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of Council of Europe member states in Vienna in October 1993.
I. Draft recommendation
1. The Council of Europe has taken on new responsibilities at continental level since the democratic process started in the Central and Eastern European countries.
2. The Assembly therefore regards the revision of the Statute of the Organisation, which dates back to 1949, as essential and to this end it submits to the Committee of Ministers the draft revised Statute which it has prepared. The Assembly considers that the revised Statute should be adopted on the occasion of the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Vienna in October 1993 , which will be a major political event in the life of the Council of Europe. This would then show the new role which has fallen upon the Council of Europe in the construction of Europe.
3. In addition to this political target, the revision will also make it possible:
i. to up-date the Statute and bring its wording into line with current practice and with the institutional texts adopted by the Committee of Ministers since 1949;
ii. to adapt the Organisation's structure, particularly with a view to increasing its capacity for action and strengthening its ties with the main European institutions.
4. Consequently the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers
i. approve the draft revised Statute of the Council of Europe;
ii. invite member states to adopt it on the occasion of the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Vienna in October 1993;
iii. consult it on all draft statutory resolutions which are intended to advance the process of institutional reform, pending implementation of the proposed revision of the Statute.
Draft revised Statute
of the Council of Europe *
1. The governments of [list of member states on the date of adoption of the revised Statute],
2. Convinced that the pursuit of peace based upon justice and international co-operation is vital for the preservation of human society and civilisation;
3. Reaffirm their devotion to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of all their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, the principles which form the basis of all pluralist parliamentary democracy;
4. Believing that, for the maintenance and further realisation of these ideals and for the promotion of social and economic progress and the well-being of their peoples, there is need of a closer unity between all like-minded countries of Europe;
5. Recall that the Council of Europe was established for this purpose on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London;
6. Consider that this unity must be extended over the whole of the continent and that acceptance of the values on which it is founded must be promoted among all the European peoples wishing to be part of it;
7. Decide to adapt accordingly the structures of the Council of Europe, whose pan-European function is to bring together all the countries of Europe for the purpose of co-operating together on an equal footing and developing ever closer links within its framework.
Chapter I - Aim of the Council of Europe
a. The aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve an ever-greater unity between its Members, founded on the principles of parliamentary democracy, the rule of law and human rights, for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and values which are their common heritage and facilitating their social progress and the wellbeing of their peoples.
b. This aim shall be pursued through the organs of the Council by discussion of questions of common concern, by conventions and agreements and common action in the fields necessary to achieve this unity with the exception of matters relating to national defence.
* The passages underlined indicate the changes made in the wording of the Statute.
Chapter II - Membership
The Members of the Council of Europe are the Parties to this Statute.
Every Member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of pluralist parliamentary democracy, of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It undertakes to collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council as specified in Chapter I. In particular, it shall facilitate the fulfilment of their mission by the organs and the institutions of the Council of Europe.
Any European state which is deemed to be able and willing to fulfil the provisions of Article 3 and which undertakes to adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights and to submit to the jurisdiction of the organs established under the Convention, may be invited by the Committee of Ministers, subject to the concurring opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly, to become a Member of the Council of Europe. Any state so invited shall become a Member upon the deposit with the Secretary General on its behalf of an instrument of accession to the present Statute.
a. A state which is deemed able and willing to fulfil the provisions of Article 3 may be invited by the Committee of Ministers, subject to the concurring opinion of the Assembly, to become an Associate Member of the Council of Europe. Any state so invited shall become an Associate Member upon the deposit on its behalf with the Secretary General of the instrument accepting the present Statute. An Associate Member shall be represented in the Parliamentary Assembly, without the right to vote. It may be invited by the Committee of Ministers to participate in meetings, without the right to vote.
b. The expression "Member" in the Statute includes an Associate Member, except when otherwise stated.
Article 5 a (new)
A state, an intergovernmental organisation or a group of states interested in the activities of the Organisation may be granted observer status by the Committee of Ministers, subject to the concurring opinion of the Assembly. Observers are not represented in the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers unless a special decision to that effect is taken by one of those bodies.
Article 5 b (new)
The Council of Europe shall maintain appropriate institutional and working relations with the European Community.
Article 5 c (new)
The Secretary General acting on behalf of the Committee of Ministers and
subject to the concurring opinion of the Assembly may conclude co-ordination and co-operation agreements with other international intergovernmental organisations as well as agreements with non-member states wishing to participate in specific sectors of the Organisation's activities.
Article 5 d (new)
The Secretary General may consult international non-governmental organisations which deal with matters that are within the competence of the Council of Europe. The establishment of formal working relations between the Council of Europe and international non governmental organisations is subject to special regulations.
Before issuing invitations under Article 4 or Article 5 above, the Committee of Ministers shall determine the proportionate financial contribution of the future Member having regard to the population figure and the gross national product.
Any Member of the Council of Europe may withdraw by formally notifying the Secretary General of its intention to do so. Such withdrawal shall take effect at the end of the financial year in which it is notified, if the notification is given during the first nine months of that financial year. If the notification is given in the last three months of the financial year, it shall take effect at the end of the next financial year.
Any Member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated Article 3 may, subject to the concurring opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly, be suspended from its rights of representation or requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw under Article 7. If such Member does not comply with this request, the Committee may decide that it has ceased to be a Member of the Council as from such date as the Committee may determine subject to the concurring opinion of the Assembly.
The Committee of Ministers may, subject to the concurring opinion of the Assembly, suspend the right of representation on the Committee and in the Parliamentary Assembly of a Member which has failed to fulfil its financial obligations during such period as the obligations remain unfulfilled.
Chapter III - General
The organs of the Council of Europe are:
i. The Committee of Ministers;
ii. The Parliamentary Assembly;
These organs shall be served by the Secretariat of the Council of Europe.
Article 10 a (new)
A Conference of Heads of State or Government shall meet periodically within the framework of the Council of Europe to lay down the general policy guidelines for its activity.
The seat of the Council of Europe is at Strasbourg.
The official languages of the Council of Europe are English and French. The Rules of Procedure of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly shall determine in what circumstances and under what conditions other languages may be used.
Chapter IV - Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers is the organ which acts on behalf of the Council of Europe in accordance with Articles 15 and 16 without prejudice to the prerogatives of the Parliamentary Assembly.
a. Each Member shall be entitled to one representative on the Committee of Ministers, and each representative shall be entitled to one vote. Representatives on the Committee shall be the Ministers for Foreign Affairs. When a Minister for Foreign Affairs is unable to be present or in other circumstances where it may be desirable, an alternate may be nominated to act for him, who shall, whenever possible, be a member of his Government.
b. Each Minister shall appoint a Deputy to act in his or her name outside meetings held at ministerial level. Decisions taken by the Deputies shall have the same force and effects as those taken by the Committee of Ministers sitting at ministerial level.
c. The Council of Europe shall establish close working relations with the conferences of specialised ministers. In appropriate cases the Committee of Ministers may delegate its powers to a conference of specialised ministers.
d. During any period when its representation in the Assembly is suspended, a Member shall not be entitled to vote in the Committee of Ministers and may not occupy the Chair.
a. On the recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly, or on its own initiative, the Committee of Ministers shall consider the action required to further the aim of the Council of Europe, including the adoption by governments of a common policy with regard to particular matters.
b. As appropriate, the conclusions of the Committee may take the form of conventions, agreements or protocols, recommendations to the member states or resolutions. They shall be communicated to Members by the Secretary General.
c. Such conventions and agreements shall be binding only upon the states which have given their consent thereto by ratification or other appropriate procedures. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
d. A Council of Europe activity may be restricted to only some of the member states and take the form of a partial agreement. It shall be deemed to have been adopted only by the representatives of the member states who voted in favour of it. Any additional expenditure incurred by the Council of Europe in connection with a proposal adopted in accordance with this procedure shall be charged exclusively to the Members whose representatives voted in favour of it.
e. Likewise, the Committee of Ministers may decide to extend an activity under an enlarged agreement to include a state that is not a member of the Council of Europe.
The Committee of Ministers shall, subject to the provisions of Articles 12, 24, 24a, 26, 27, 27a, 27b, 28, 30, 32, 33 34, 35, 36 b, 38, relating to the powers of the Parliamentary Assembly, decide with binding effect all matters relating to the internal organisation and arrangements of the Council of Europe. For this purpose the Committee of Ministers shall adopt such financial and administrative regulations as may be necessary.
The Committee of Ministers may establish specialised institutions operating within the framework of the Council of Europe and set up advisory and technical committees or commissions for such specific purposes as it may deem desirable.
The Committee of Ministers shall adopt its Rules of Procedure, which shall determine amongst other things:
i. the quorum;
ii. the method of appointment and term of office of its President;
iii. the procedure for the admission of items to its agenda, including the giving of notice of proposals for resolutions;
iv. the notifications required for the nomination of alternates under Article 14;
v. the powers of the Ministers' Deputies;
vi. the delegation of authority to conferences of specialised ministers;
vii. relations with the Parliamentary Assembly;
viii. the membership of the Bureau of the Committee of Ministers;
ix. relations with the Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities1.
At each part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly the Committee of Ministers shall furnish the Assembly with a report on its activity, accompanied by the appropriate documentation. The Chairman-in-office of the Committee of Ministers shall present this report at a public sitting of the Assembly and shall answer questions.
a. The following decisions of the Committee of Ministers shall require a vote supported by all its members who cast a vote and by a majority of its total membership:
i. the adoption of recommendation to member states under Article 15 b;
ii. the adoption of recommendations for the amendments of Articles 1b, 7, 15 and 20 of this Statute.
b. Questions arising under the rules of procedure or under the financial and administrative regulations may be decided by a vote supported by a simple majority of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee;
c. The following decisions shall require a vote supported by two-thirds of the members casting a vote and by a majority of the representatives entitled to sit on the Committee:
i. the adoption of resolutions;
ii. the adoption of recommendations for the amendment of articles of this Statute other than those specified in paragraph a.ii. above;
iii. the adoption of conventions, agreements and protocols and the opening thereof for signature under article 15 b.;
iv. decisions concerning the enlarged and partial agreements under Articles 15 d. and 15 e.
a. Unless the Committee decides otherwise, meetings of the Committee of Ministers shall be held:
i. in private, and
ii. at the seat of the Council.
b. The committee shall decide what information shall be published regarding discussions held in private.
c. The committee shall meet at ministerial level at least twice a year, if possible during a part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly. It shall also meet whenever it sees fit.
Chapter V - Parliamentary Assembly
Article 22 [and 23]
a. The Parliamentary Assembly is the deliberative organ of the Council of Europe. It shall debate any matter relevant to the aim and falling within the competence of the Council of Europe as defined in this Statute, in conventions concluded within the Council of Europe or in resolutions and decisions adopted by the Committee of Ministers. It shall also deliberate on any matter referred to it by the Committee of Ministers for an opinion. It shall present its conclusions to the Committee of Ministers in the form of recommendations and statutory opinions.
b. The Assembly shall draw up its agenda in accordance with the provisions of paragraph a. above.
[deleted, see Article 22]
The Parliamentary Assembly may, with due regard to the provisions of Article 38 d., establish committees to consider and report to it on any matter which falls within its competence under Article 22, to examine and prepare questions on its Agenda and to advise on all matters of procedure, and organise hearings and conferences.
Article 24 a (new)
The Parliamentary Assembly shall establish appropriate working relations and conclude, if necessary, agreements to this effect with national parliaments and interparliamentary assemblies. It may act as a parliamentary forum for other international organisations possessing no parliamentary organ.
a. The Parliamentary Assembly shall consist of Representatives of each Member, elected by its parliament from among the members thereof, or appointed from among the members of that parliament according to a procedure laid down by it and so as to reflect the various currents of opinion within that Parliament. Every Representative must have the nationality of the Member which he represents. A Representative may not be a member of the Committee of Ministers, nor a member of the European Court or Commission of Human Rights or of any body set up under a Convention.
b. The term of office of Representatives thus appointed shall date from the opening of the first sitting of the Assembly or meeting of the Standing Committee following submission of their credentials; it shall expire at the opening of the next Ordinary Session or of a later Ordinary Session. However, following a general election, a member parliament shall make new appointments within six months. Moreover a parliament may fill vacancies due to death or resignation. The term of office of the new Representatives shall date from the first sitting of the Assembly or the Standing Committee following their appointment.
c. Subject to the foregoing no Representative shall be deprived of his position as such during a session of the Assembly without the agreement of the Assembly.
d. Each Representative may have a Substitute who may, in the absence of the Representative, sit, speak and vote in his place. The provisions of paragraph a. above apply to the appointment of Substitutes.
The Parliamentary Assembly shall determine the distribution of seats among member states, having regard, inter alia, to their population figures and their national gross product. Members shall be entitled to not more than 18 and not fewer than two representatives.
The Parliamentary Assembly may request the Committee of Ministers to present its views and/or to give explanations on any question, falling within the Council of Europe's competence.
Article 27 a (new)
The Parliamentary Assembly shall determine the scope and procedure for such investigations as it may deem necessary of matters falling within the Council of Europe's competence.
Article 27 b (new)
The Parliamentary Assembly has a general right of initiative in respect of conventions. It shall be consulted by the Committee of Ministers on draft conventions agreements, and protocols before their adoption. If necessary, the Secretary General shall report to the Assembly on the implementation of these treaties.
a. The Parliamentary Assembly shall adopt its Rules of Procedure. It shall appoint a Bureau comprising the President and a number of Vice-Presidents.
b. The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly shall determine inter alia:
i. the quorum;
ii. the manner of the election and terms of office of the President and other members of the Bureau;
iii. the manner in which the Agenda shall be drawn up and communicated to Representatives;
iv. the time and manner in which the names of Representatives and their Substitutes shall be notified;
v. the membership of the Standing Committee which shall be responsible for ensuring continuity of the Assembly's action and acting on its behalf between sessions;
vi. arrangements concerning the political groups.
The following decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly, shall require a two-thirds majority of the votes cast:
i. recommendations and statutory opinions addressed to the Committee of Ministers;
ii. establishing committees ;
iii. determining the date of commencement of its sessions;
iv. deciding to hold an extraordinary or part-session elsewhere than at the seat of the Council;
v. determining what majority is required for decisions not covered by i.-iv. above or determining cases of doubt as to what appropriate majority is required.
Other decisions shall be adopted by the majority determined by the Parliamentary Assembly in its Rules of Procedure in application of Article 29 v.
The Parliamentary Assembly shall hold each year an Ordinary Session which may be divided into several parts.
(ex Article 34)
The Parliamentary Assembly may hold extraordinary sessions in accordance with Article 29. The Committee of Ministers may propose such a session.
(ex Article 33)
Ordinary sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly shall be held at the seat of the Council unless, the Assembly exceptionally decides otherwise, having due regard to the provisions of Articles 29 and 38 d.
Unless the Parliamentary Assembly decides otherwise its debates shall be conducted in public.
Chapter V.a (new) - Joint Committee
Article 35 a (new)
a. The Joint Committee is the structure of concertation and co-ordination between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Without prejudice to the rights of each of these two organs, the functions of the Joint Committee should be, in particular:
i. to consider problems which are common to both organs;
ii. to draw attention to questions which appear to be of particular interest to the Council of Europe, particularly the political aspects of European co-operation;
iii. to make proposals for the draft Agenda of the sessions of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.
b. The Joint Committee shall be composed of the members of the Committee of Ministers and representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly, appointed in accordance with its Rules of Procedure. It may hold meetings in restricted composition to consider a particular question.
c. The Joint Committee shall meet as often as may be necessary. It shall meet at least once a year at Foreign Ministers' level.
d. The Joint Committee shall be chaired by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly.
e. The Secretary General shall attend meetings of the Joint Committee.
f. The conclusions of the Joint Committee shall be reached without voting.
g. Subject to the above provisions, the Joint Committee may adopt its own Rules of Procedure.
Chapter V.b (new) - Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities2
Article 35 b (new)
The Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities shall be the representative organ of local and regional authorities. It shall address its recommendations to the Committee of Ministers and to the Parliamentary Assembly, which shall consult it in appropriate cases.
The rules of operation of the Chamber Local and Regional Authorities shall be laid down in a Charter adopted by the Committee of Ministers, subject to the concurring opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Chamber shall adopt its Rules of Procedure.
Chapter VI - Secretariat
a. The Secretariat shall consist of a Secretary General, two Deputy Secretaries General and such other staff as may be required. One of the Deputy Secretaries General shall assist the Secretary General in all his duties except those relating to the Assembly. The other Deputy Secretary General shall be the Clerk of the Assembly; he shall be responsible for organising the Assembly's business and shall be accountable to its President.
b. The Secretary General and the Deputy Secretaries General shall be elected by the Parliamentary Assembly in accordance with special regulations issued by agreement between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly.
c. The remaining staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary General, in accordance with the administrative regulations.
d. No member of the Secretariat shall hold any salaried office from any government or be a member of the Parliamentary Assembly, of any other international parliamentary institution, of any national legislature or engage in any occupation incompatible with his duties.
e. In the performance of their duties the Secretary General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the Organisation. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only to the Organisation.
f. Every Member shall respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary General and the staff of the Secretariat and not seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
a. The Secretariat shall be located at the seat of the Council.
b. The Secretary General is responsible to the Committee of Ministers for the work of the Secretariat.
c. To implement Article 38 d the Secretary General shall provide such secretariat and other assistance as the Parliamentary Assembly requires. The Parliamentary Assembly is served by the Office of the Clerk under the authority of the Clerk.
Chapter VII - Finance
a. (new) The Committee of Ministers shall adopt the annual budget of the Council of Europe, subject to the concurring opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly.
a. Each Member shall bear the expenses of its own representation in the Committee of Ministers, conferences of specialised ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities.3
b. The expenses of the Secretariat and all other common expenses shall be shared between all members in such proportions and according to such criteria as shall be determined by the Committee, having due regard to the population and total gross national product of Members. Expenses incurred under partial agreements shall be charged exclusively to the states which are parties to the agreement.
The contributions of an Associate Member shall be determined by the Committee.
c. In accordance with the Financial Regulations, the budget of the Council shall be submitted annually by the Secretary General for adoption by the Committee.
d. The Parliamentary Assembly shall determine the amount of its expenditure, the rate of growth being agreed between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly.
e. The Secretary General shall also submit to the Committee of Ministers an estimate of the expenditure to which the implementation of each of the recommendations presented to the Committee would give rise. Any resolution, the implementation of which requires additional expenditure shall not be considered as adopted by the Committee of Ministers unless the Committee has also approved the corresponding estimates for such additional expenditure.
The Secretary General shall each year notify the government of each Member of the amount of its contribution, and each Member shall pay to the Organisation the amount of its contribution, which shall be deemed to be due on the date of its notification, not later than six months after that date.
Chapter VIII - Privileges and immunities
a. The Council of Europe, representatives of Members and the Secretariat shall enjoy in the territories of its Members such privileges and immunities as are reasonably necessary for the fulfilment of their functions. These immunities shall include immunity for all Representatives and Substitutes to the Parliamentary Assembly from arrest and all legal proceedings in the territories of all Members, in respect of words spoken and votes cast in the debates of the Assembly and its committees or other subordinate bodies.
b. The privileges and immunities shall be as defined by the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of 2 September 1949 and by the Supplementary Agreement and additional protocols. Every state which becomes a member shall accede to the Agreement, to the Supplementary Agreement and to the Additional Protocols. The privileges and immunities enjoyed by the Council at its seat shall be as defined in the Special Agreement concluded on 2 September 1949 with the government of the French Republic.
Chapter IX - Amendments
a. Proposals for the amendment of this Statute may be made in the Committee of Ministers or in the Parliamentary Assembly.
b. The Committee shall recommend and cause to be embodied in a Protocol those amendments which it considers to be desirable.
c. An amending Protocol shall come into force when it has been signed and ratified on behalf of two-thirds of the Members.
d. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraphs of this Article, amendments to Articles 5 to 5 d, 22 to 35, 35 a, 35 b, 38 and 39, which have been approved by the Committee and by the Assembly, shall come into force on the date of the Certificate of the Secretary General, transmitted to the governments of Members, certifying that they have been so approved.
Chapter X - Final provisions
a. This revised Statute, will enter into force after the deposit of the instruments of ratification by two-thirds of the member states with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. It will replace the Statute which entered into force on 3 August 1949.
b. Any further signatory shall become a Party to this revised Statute as provided for in Articles 4 and 5 above.
II. Explanatory memorandum
by Lord FINSBERG
1. The purpose of the revision is to incorporate the Council of Europe's new responsibilities at continental level in the Statute. It is politically important that a revised Statute be adopted on the occasion of the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Vienna in October 1993. In this spirit the Assembly expects a corresponding commitment of the Committee of Ministers from now on.
2. The present report continues a long series of Assembly initiatives to promote institutional developments within the Council of Europe. Since its first session in 1949, the Assembly has been asking the Committee of Ministers to amend the Council of Europe's Statute4. In 19505, it submitted to the Committee of Ministers a number of draft protocols amending the Statute and, in 19516, a draft revised Statute. In 19587, a draft resolution on merging the Council of Europe and OEEC (now OECD), to which an outline statute for the merged organisation was appended, was not put to the vote in the Assembly. Apart from a very few proposals for specific amendments8, the question of revising the Statute was not raised again until future relations with the states of Eastern Europe were discussed in 19689 and 197010.
3. Specific amendments to the Statute were proposed and secured by the Assembly in 197011 and 1977/7812.
4. The Assembly subsequently requested partial amendment of the Statute in its Recommendations 1026 (1986) (Article 14), 1027 (1986) (Article 25) and 1097 (1989) (Article 33). In a memorandum submitted to the Bureau of the Assembly in November 1988, Professor Jacqué (University of Strasbourg) indicated the amendments to the Statute which would be necessary for the European Community as such to join the Council of Europe. In Recommendation 1155 (1991), the Assembly requested that Article 36d of the Statute be amended. Revision of the Statute was also advocated in a motion for a resolution on the future development of European political institutions (Doc. 6230) and a motion for a recommendation on unanimous voting in the Committee of Ministers (Doc. 6308).
5. In the recommendations to the Bureau of the Assembly which it adopted on 15.12.199013, the Committee on Rules of Procedure considered that "the whole question of the Parliamentary Assembly's powers in administrative matters should be re-examined in the context of a general revision of the Statute, taking into account the considerable development of the Organisation since 1949, and its present evolution towards a pan-European organisation. This revision might include establishing the Secretary General's position in such a way as to permit her/him to become an independent organ of the Council of Europe (enjoying a legal status similar to that of the Secretary General of the United Nations)".
The Committee accordingly recommended that the Bureau set up a small working party to present a first draft for a revised Statute within twelve months.
6. In Recommendation 1139 on the institutional role of the Council of Europe in a continent aspiring to greater unity, adopted on 29 January 1991, the Assembly called on the Committee of Ministers "to consider urgently in 1991, together with the Parliamentary Assembly, all steps necessary, including the revision of the 1949 Statute, to ensure that the Council of Europe will be in a position to assume fully its responsibilities in the institutional framework emerging on the European continent".
7. In response to the proposals of the Committee on Rules of Procedure and, above all, the adoption of Recommendation 1139, the Bureau of the Assembly set up an Ad Hoc Committee on the revision of the Statute at its meeting on 26.4.91. This Committee liaised with the Ministers' Deputies' Working Party on the institutional role of the Council of Europe. On 4 February 1993, the Ad Hoc Committee completed its work and approved the draft revised Statute, which was sent to the President of the Assembly for examination by the Bureau. The latter referred it to the Committee on Rules of Procedure at its meeting on 5 February 1993 which approved the draft recommendation together with the draft revised Statute on 25 February 1993.
8. So as to permit a better understanding of the statutory amendments, the following explanatory notes have been prepared.
9. Ad preamble
After detailed discussion, the ad hoc committee decided to keep the title "Council of Europe".
The amendments proposed are intended to highlight the Organisation's pan-European function.
The ad hoc committee wished to ensure that the amendments would have the practical effect of approximating the Organisation to a confederation, but avoided using the actual term "confederation". It retained the present structure, which is partly intergovernmental and partly interparliamentary. It nevertheless advocates strengthening both the intergovernmental side [cf Article 10 a] and the Parliamentary Assembly [cf Articles 22 to 35].
The terms "genuine democracy" were replaced by "pluralist parliamentary democracy". In this context it might be recalled that at the end of the first Strasbourg Conference on Parliamentary Democracy (4 to 6 October 1983) the president of the Assembly presented the conclusions ("the Strasbourg Consensus") which list the essential elements of a pluralist parliamentary democracy.
10. Ad Article 1 (Chapter I - Aims of the Council of Europe)
a. The addition of "ever" indicates that it is a question of continuing what has already been done since the Council's foundation.
Furthermore, this paragraph had to be brought into line with the new wording of the preamble.
b. The ad hoc committee opted for a general formula rather than a list of the various fields, which would be difficult to compile and can never fully reflect reality.
It has maintained the exclusion of national defence, on the understanding that this does not rule out the question of security and peace (cf. Committee of Ministers Resolution (51) 31).
11. Ad Article 3 (Chapter II - Membership)
The reference to pluralist parliamentary democracy is in line with the conditions required for agreeing to the accession of a new state and could link up with the possibility of sanctions provided for in Article 8 of the Statute in the event of the dissolution of parliament meeting the required criteria.
12. Ad Article 4
The reference to ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights merely endorses the practice adopted since Greece's readmission to the Council of Europe in 1974. The consultation of the Parliamentary Assembly is in fact provided for in the statutory resolution (51) 30 A of May 1951.
At the Bureau's request, the Committee on Rules of Procedure has prepared a draft report on the procedure followed by the Assembly in examining applications to join the Council. This report also contains draft guidelines summarising the conditions for membership and the other aspects taken into consideration by the Assembly committees (cf. also Doc. 6629 (1992) and the report submitted to the Committee of Ministers by the Secretary General in October 1992).
13. Ad Article 5
a. The Ad Hoc Committee on the revision of the Statute envisaged offering associate membership to certain states, including states outside Europe. It was accordingly decided that not all the rights pertaining to Assembly membership would be conferred on these associate members.
b. Since the Ad Hoc Committee worked on this question, the Committee of Ministers has had a draft statutory resolution prepared on observer status with the Council of Europe. This projected observer status, on which the Committee of Ministers has sought the Assembly's opinion, corresponds very largely to the wishes of the various Assembly bodies which the proposed revision of Article 5 was intended to meet.
c. To remain flexible it probably would be wiser to leave the word "state" non qualified.
d. So that due account can be taken of any future developments, it is proposed that Article 5 be included among the statutory provisions covered by the simplified revision procedure (see Article 41d).
e. The present wording of Article 5 does not provide for representation of Associate Members in the Committee of Ministers. However, the Sarre and the Federal Republic of Germany, the only "countries" to benefit from Article 5 in its present wording, were, in fact, invited by the Committee of Ministers to participate in its meetings. The new wording would put this practice on a statutory basis, without being obligatory for the Committee of Ministers.
f. The definition of the term "Member" was retained in the present wording of Article 5, as it would enable Associate Members to adhere to Council of Europe conventions open to Members only.
14. Ad New Article 5 a
a. At the moment, there is only one observer mission accredited to the Organisation, namely that of the Holy See. However, the case of the Holy See is considered sui generis and observer status with the Council of Europe has never been legally defined. De facto, a number of consulates of non-member states do observe the activities of the Council of Europe. It would be in the interest of the Organisation to give a legal basis to the observer status in the Statute, as it could encourage non member states and International Organisations to follow its activities more closely.
b. Such a statutory observer status would be complementary to the afore-mentioned permanent parliamentary observer status under Rule 5514 of the Assembly's Rules of Procedure. However, depending on the new wording of Article 5, both the Parliamentary Observer Status and the Special Guest Status (Rule 55 a) may become superfluous. The latter being considered a preliminary stage for full membership, it would have no "raison d'être" if no eligible states are left. The only state whose parliament now enjoys prliamentary oserver status (Israel) could be eligible for Associate Membership, if Article 5 was not limited to European states.
c. While observers in the meaning of the proposed new Article 5 a. of the Statute would normally have no right to be represented in the Assembly, there is nothing to stop the Assembly from deciding otherwise. This is already the case with parliamentary observers from European non-member states (Rule 55 (1) of the Assembly's Rules of Procedure).
In accordance with Rule 55 (3) the Bureau may "by a three-quarters majority, invite representatives of Parliaments of other member states to attend and take part in a debate in the Assembly".
d. The Committee of Ministers consulted the Assembly on a draft statutory resolution on observer status (Doc. 6748), which however does not refer to groups of states.
15. Ad new Article 5 b
Although the reference to the United Nations in Article 1 c of the present Statute was justified in 1949, this is no longer the case. Nor does it seem appropriate to subordinate the Council's action to what is being done elsewhere. On the other hand, a reference to co-operation with the European Community appears necessary (cf. Committee of Ministers Resolution (85) 5, the exchange of letters of 16.6.1987 between the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the President of the Commission of the Communities, and Committee of Ministers Resolution (89) 40). It should be recalled in this connection that, in Recommendation 1139 (1991), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe expressed a favourable opinion on the Community's accession to the Council of Europe.
16. Ad new Article 5 c
The practice of coordination and cooperation agreements with other international organisations has been in existence for a long time, but, although the Assembly was consulted in certain cases, the Secretary General or the Committee of Ministers are not obliged to seek the approval of the Assembly (see Resolution (52) 26 of the Committee of Ministers). Agreements with non-member states would be a useful instrument, inter alia, to develop the relations of the Council of Europe with the United States, as it would give the latter the possibility to participate in specific activities on a basis of equality.
17. Ad new Article 5 d
The first sentence corresponds to the last paragraph of statutory Resolution (51) 30 F of May 1951. See also Committee of Ministers Resolution (72) 35 and Assembly Recommendation 1180. Moreover it should be noted that the NGOs who have consultative status with the Council of Europe are an important element for publicising the parliamentary and intergovernmental activities of the Council of Europe and implementing them. Their role in the Greater Europe deserves to be recognised and supported by increased consultation as provided for in Article 5 d of the draft revised Statute.
18. Ad Article 6
The financial aspect (determining proportionate contributions) and the representational aspect (number of seats allocated to each member) were separated.
This Article deals only with the financial aspect and Article 26 deals with the representation
19. Ad Article 8
The proposed change concerning the Assembly's concurring opinion is also based on statutory Resolution (51) 30A. It matches the same provision in Article 4. It is proposed that Article 8 make it clear that suspension of a member state is not the same thing as exclusion.
20. Ad Article 9
If the changes proposed in Articles 4, 5, 5 a. to c. and 8 were adopted, the text of the statutory resolutions (51) 30 A and F would largely cease to apply.
21. Ad Article 10 (Chapter III - General)
The change in the name of the Assembly of the European Community to European Parliament was endorsed by the European Single Act. The Committee of Ministers might do likewise.
The committee decided in favour of retaining two organs only: the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.
22. Ad new Article 10 a
The Conference of Heads of State or Government contributes to the desired approximation of the Organisation to the form of a confederation, without being one of its statutory organs.
23. Ad Article 14 (Chapter IV - Committee of Ministers)
a. The ad hoc committee feels that the revision of this chapter is a matter for the Committee of Ministers. It has nevertheless ventured to make some suggestions.
b. The substance of Committee of Ministers Resolution (52) 24 was incorporated in paragraph b. of Article 14.
c. Paragraph c. makes allowance for Committee of Ministers Resolution (71) 44.
d. The proposal in paragraph d. follows on Assembly Recommendation 1026 (1986).
24. Ad Article 15
a. Paragraph a. takes current practice into account. In addition to the proposals of the Assembly, those made by the conferences of specialised ministers, the intergovernmental committees of experts and the Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities often lead to the adoption of legal instruments by the Committee of Ministers.
b. Paragraph c. includes some elements from statutory Resolution (51) 30 B.
c. Paragraphs d. and e. follow on Committee of Ministers Resolution (51) 62 on the Partial Agreements, and on the Committee's draft statutory resolution in Doc. 6748 (1993). It is proposed that no further reference be made to the possibility which the present Article 15 b of the Statute gives the Committee of Ministers' asking states to inform it of action taken on its recommendations. This is already current practice. Various procedures have also been introduced to ensure that conventions concluded within the Council of Europe are properly implemented. Under Article 27 b it is proposed that the Secretary General should, if necessary, prepare reports to the Assembly on the implementation of the conventions and agreements.
25. Ad Article 16
The reference to further articles of the Statute is made necessary by the fact that they deal with the powers of the Assembly.
26. Ad Article 17
This proposal takes current practice into account and also stresses the possibility given to the Committee of Ministers of taking the Council of Europe's action further by setting up specialised institutions (cf. the Social Development Fund, the European Youth Centre, the European Commission and Court of Human Rights). See, too, in this connection, statutory Resolution (51) 30 E on specialised authorities.
27. Ad Article 18
These various proposals take into account Committee of Ministers Resolution (89) 40 on the future role of the Council of Europe in European construction.
28. Ad Article 19
The proposed change would codify what is the practice now (see also Doc. 763, paragraph 16).
29. Ad Article 20
The proposed changes seek to remove the unanimity requirement for certain questions concerning relations with the Parliamentary Assembly (for instance the references to Article 19, which appeared in paragraph ii., and to Article 22, which appeared under paragraph v.) as well as to prevent the opening of a convention for signature from being impeded by a single state. This also matches the need to increase the Organisation's capacity for action.
Paragraph c.i. concerns all resolutions, including those relating to the admission of new members or associate members.
Paragraph c.iv. takes into account the draft statutory resolution contained in Doc. 6748 (1993) (request for an opinion from the Committee of Ministers).
30. Ad Article 21
It is proposed to delete the words "the conclusions ... of a meeting" in paragraph b. in accordance with Assembly Recommendation 54 of 1950. Here too reference will be made to the position of the Committee of Ministers in Resolution (89) 40 (paragraph 25); Article 21 c was brought into line with current practice.
31. Ad Articles 22 - 23 (Chapter V - Parliamentary Assembly)
a. Chapter V has been recast to take account of the increased role which the
Parliamentary Assembly already plays in the affairs of the Council of Europe and which it will need to play even more fully if the Organisation moves in the direction of becoming a confederation.
b. The present Article 22 and paragraph 1 of Article 23 have been merged, the two having roughly the same content.
c. Paragraph c. of Article 23, which belongs in the Assembly's Rules of Procedure, should be deleted.
32. Ad. Articles 24 and new Article 24 a.
The reference to hearings and conferences would endorse the Assembly's established practice. Moreover the Assembly's Rules permit the setting-up of ad hoc committees, sub-committees, etc. The Assembly has already concluded co-operation agreements with the Canadian and Egyptian Parliaments, the Nordic Council and the Benelux Interparliamentary Advisory Council. Cooperation with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is based on an exchange of letters. The Parliamentary Assembly's enlarged debates on the activities of OECD are covered by special regulations.
33. Ad Article 25
The alterations proposed to paragraph a. of Article 25 are intended to safeguard the prerogatives of parliaments in appointing their representatives and take account of Rule 6, paragraph 5 of the Assembly's Rules of Procedure (pluralist composition of delegations (Recommendation 1027 (1986)), Recommendation 600 (1970) and some recent difficulties. In particular it is proposed to oblige parliaments to make new appointments not later than six months after general elections. Moreover the wording of the current paragraph b. was made more precise.
34. Ad Article 26
It appeared necessary to indicate the minimum and maximum number of seats. The enumeration will be included in the rules of Procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly rather than in the Statute as it may be subject to changes. The Ad Hoc Committee on the revision of the Statute thought, however, that no such changes should be made until the criteria governing the allocation of seats had been clearly defined.
35. Ad Article 27
The proposed changes take account of the increased role which the Assembly will need to play in the affairs of the Council of Europe. The text of Article 27 of the present Statute is no longer necessary as this matter is covered by Rule 50 of the Rules of Procedure.
36. Ad Article 27 a (new), Article 27 b (new)
These two articles are intended to vest the Parliamentary Assembly with responsibilities akin to those of national parliaments. To a large extent, they merely codify the existing practice (cf Committee of Ministers Resolution (52) 26). Consultation of the Assembly on all draft conventions is in line with proposals repeatedly made in the past (cf. Recommendation 871 (1979); Senator Dreyfus-Schmidt's report to the French Prime Minister (1985) on revitalisation of the Council of Europe, Recommendation 1103 (1989)). The questions referred to in Article 27 of the present Statute have their proper place in the Assembly's Rules of Procedure. This article should thus be deleted.
37. Ad Article 28
The wording of paragraph a. has been up-dated. Paragraph b. refers to the Standing Committee and to political groups which hitherto were not mentioned in the Statute. Paragraph b. of the present Statute belongs in the Assembly's Rules of Procedure and should be deleted.
38. Ad Article 29
The Assembly addresses both recommendations and statutory opinions to the Committee of Ministers. This needs to be specified.
The present sub-paragraph ii. serves no purpose, since the Assembly adopts its own agenda. The Assembly has only committees and no commissions. It is not necessary to mention sub-committees, which are set up by the committees in accordance with the Assembly's Rules of Procedure. Sub-paragraph iv. reiterates Recommendation 1097 (1989) which asked that Articles 33 and 29 of the Statute be amended in such a way that the Assembly be able to decide itself of the holding of sessions at the Council's Headquarters, this decision having been voted by a two- thirds majority. It was thought advisable to mention extraordinary sessions as well, since decisions to hold ordinary and extraordinary sessions should follow the same rules.
39. Ad Article 30
The wording of this article has been simplified, since these are questions which should be dealt with in the Assembly's Rules of Procedure.
40. Ad Article 31
The content of this largely obsolete article concerns the Assembly's Rules of Procedure and ought therefore to be deleted from the Statute.
41. Ad Article 32
The ad hoc committee and the Committee on Rules of Procedure considered that consultation of the European Parliament and other international parliamentary organisations should be conducted pragmatically and did not need to be mentioned in the Statute.
Two versions were initially proposed. The Committee on Rules of Procedure favoured codifying present practice. It also considered that the words "shall not exceed 30 meeting days" should be deleted. Following a proposal from one of the Assembly's political groups the chairmen of national delegations and the other political groups are at present being consulted on the possibility of making the parliamentary year coincide with the civil year.
42. Ad Article 33
To allow for developments, it is proposed that decisions on the holding of extraordinary sessions should no longer require the Committee of Ministers' agreement. Similarly, it is proposed that the present Articles 33 and 34 be reversed.
43. Ad Article 34
This amendment takes account of Assembly Recommendation 1097 (1989).
44. Ad Article 35
This question could be left to the Assembly's Rules of Procedure. However, the public nature of Assembly debates deserves to be asserted in the Statute itself, particularly in the light of certain events which almost led to banning public access to the Chamber.
45. Ad new Article 35 a (Chapter Va : Joint Committee)
The provisions that follow incorporate in the Statute the Committee of Ministers Resolution (51) 30 C concerning the Joint Committee and up-date it.
46. Ad new Article 35 b (Chapter V b - Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities)
The ad hoc committee considered it necessary to devote a new chapter to the body representing regional and local authorities in order to emphasise its importance. However, it decided against making it a statutory organ of the Council of Europe. As indicated above the Conference is envisaging changing its name to "Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities". It might be necessary to take account of any additional proposals to be made regarding the structures of the future "Chamber".
47. Ad Article 36 (Chapter VI - Secretariat)
a. Regarding the mention of the Clerk of the Assembly in paragraph a., it should be remembered that as long ago as November 1949 the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution (49) 20 establishing the post of Clerk of the Assembly with the rank of Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, specifying that this was done "pending amendment of Articles 36 and 37 of the Statute". Resolutions (51) 30 D and (55) 29 repeat this wording.
Resolution (55) 29 reads "pending the amendment of Article 36 a of the Statute, the Secretariat shall consist of the Secretary General, the Deputy Secretary General, the Clerk of the Assembly and such other staff as may be required. The Deputy Secretary General and the Clerk of the Assembly shall be of equal rank, and the provisions of Article 16 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities shall apply also to the Clerk of the Assembly." Article 16 of this Agreement states: "In addition to the immunities and privileges specified in Article 18 below, the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General shall be accorded in respect of themselves, their spouses and minor children the privileges and immunities, exemptions and facilities accorded to diplomatic envoys in accordance with International Law."
b. The Secretary General and the two Deputy Secretaries general are no longer appointed but elected by the Assembly. Moreover this paragraph was reworded to take account of the existing special regulations.
c. Paragraph d. was adapted to the Staff regulations.
d. The very long paragraph d. was shortened and brought more into line with the similar provisions of the United Nations Charter. The solemn declaration is no longer mentioned, as a corresponding provision is included in the staff regulations.
48. Ad Article 37
Paragraph c. takes account of developments within the international parliamentary institutions and of the Assembly's practice. It was also adapted to the proposal made in Article 38 d.
49. Ad Article 38 (Chapter VII - Finance)
a. Paragraph a. (new) sets out to give the Assembly power of co-decision on the global Council of Europe budget. While this is an important political target it raises at the same time a number of technical and other problems and may even jeopardise the whole revision exercise. It might be more reasonable to find a compromise by proposing to give the Assembly more power over its own budget. For example paragraph d. could be reinforced by deleting the words "except for that relating to staff". As a matter of fact staff appropriations are the most important item in the Assembly's budget.
b. The reference to conferences of specialised ministers in paragraph a. takes into account Resolution (71) 44 of the Committee of Ministers. It should also be provided that the representational expenses of member states within the Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities will also be borne by those states.
c. Paragraph b. takes account of Committee of Ministers Resolution (74) 25 and, where the partial and enlarged agreements are concerned, of Resolution (51) 62 (cf. also Doc. 6748 (1993), page 9).
d. Paragraph d. results from Recommendation 1155 (1991) on the Assembly's powers in budgetary matters.
e. Here, it may be remembered that, in accordance with the letter sent by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers to the President of the Assembly on 14.12.1961, the letter sent by the Secretary General to the President of the Assembly on 13.3.1962 and the Committee of Ministers' reply to Assembly Recommendation 1155 (1991) (Doc. 6602 Addendum), the Assembly is entitled to submit an opinion on the draft general budget of the Council of Europe.
50. Ad Article 40 (Chapter VIII - Privileges and immunities)
"Subordinate bodies" refers to sub-committees and working parties, for example.
It should be stipulated that, when acceding to the Organisation, a state should also accede to the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities, as well as to its Additional Protocol
Questions relating to the immunities of special guests have not been considered here, since their obligations and prerogatives derive solely from the Assembly's Rules of Procedure.
51. Ad Article 41 (Chapter IX - Amendments)
It is proposed that Article 41 should also apply the simplified Statute amendment procedure to any revision of Articles 5 (associate members), 5 a. to d. (observer status, relations with the European Community, co-operation agreements, relations with non-governmental organisations), 35a and b (Joint Committee, Chamber of Local and Regional Authorities). These provisions do not affect national legislators' prerogatives and essentially refer to internal Council of Europe matters.
52. Ad Article 42 (Chapter X: Final provisions)
To facilitate the coming into force of the revised Statute, it is proposed that ratification by two-thirds of the member states be required. It should be noted that for the 1949 Statute ratification by 7 of the ten founder states was provided for.
Reporting committee: Committee on Rules of Procedure.
Budgetary implications for the Assembly: None.
Reference to committee: Decision of the Bureau on 5 February 1993
Draft recommandation: unanimously adopted by the committee on 25 February 1993.
Members of the committee: Sir Anthony Durant (Chairman) MM. Dimmer, Kozlowski (Vice-Chairmen), Mrs Aguiar, Mrs Albrink, MM. Alloncle, André, Gudmundur Bjarnason, Borg, Cummings (Alternate: Sir Russell Johnston), Lord Finsberg, MM. Fiorini, Franck, Galanos, Gül, Gundersen, Junghanns, Karcsay, Laakso, Leccese, Lemoine, Marten, Moya, Neumann, de Paoli, Rokofyllos, Schieder, Schiesser, Mrs Soutendijk-van Appeldoorn, MM. Stoilov, Thissen, Vinci, N... (Brennan).
N.B. The names of those members who took part in the vote are printed in italics.
Secretary of the committee: Mr Heinrich
1 1 Subject to the adoption of this name by the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe during its session from 16 to 18 March 1993.
2 1 Subject to the adoption of this name by the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe during its session from 16 to 18 March 1993.
3 1 Subject to the adoption of this name by the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe during its session from 16 to 18 March 1993.
4 1 Apart from specific reforms, these proposals aimed chiefly at the establishment of a European political authority which would have limited functions, but real powers.
5 2 Recommendation 54.
6 3 Recommendation 23.
8 5 e.g. Resolution 71 (1955)
9 6 Report on peace research (Doc. 2363, pp. 96 ff.).
10 7 Memorandum of 14.12.70 by the Sub-Committee on the Council of Europe's mission in the near future.
11 8 Recommendation 600 (1970) and amendment of Article 25 of the Statute.
12 9 Recommendation 824 (1977) and amendment of Article 26 of the Statute.
13 1 Already at its meeting on 21 December 1988 the Political Affairs Committee proposed the preparation of a document indicating the articles in the Statute which no longer corresponded with current practice and which were therefore in need of modification or remplacement.
14 1 It should be remembered that, under a decision taken by the Standing Committee on 27.11.65, permanent parliamentary observer status may at present be accorded only to the parliaments of European non-member countries.