Doc. 8583

28 October 1999

South-east Europe following the Kosovo conflict: political situation

Recommendation 1422 (1999)

South-eastern Europe following the Kosovo conflict: economic reconstruction and renewal

Recommendation 1423 (1999)

Evaluation of the humanitarian situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, particularly in Kosovo and Montenegro

Recommendation 1424 (1999)

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 686th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (27 October 1999)

1.       The Committee of Ministers is aware of the particular humanitarian dangers that may arise from the situation in South-eastern Europe following the Kosovo conflict and calls upon the international community to take appropriate actions without prejudicing any further efforts aiming at a long-tem settlement in the region.

2.       With regard to Recommendation 1423, the Committee of Ministers, stressing the importance of the questions raised by the Assembly, fully supports the efforts undertaken by the international community to respond to the need to compensate the countries of the region affected by the conflict, and more particularly those bordering on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in order to offset the serious economic difficulties suffered. In view of the urgency of the matter, priority consideration should be given to the need to re-establish navigation on the Danube, among other things by removing the debris of destroyed bridges before the onset of winter and also bearing in mind the threat of flooding.

3.       In this context the Committee of Ministers refers to the recent holding of the inaugural meetings of the three Stability Pact's Working Tables and, in particular, to the Bari meeting of WT2 on Economic Reconstruction, Development and Co-operation, where the World Bank is working on a "comprehensive regional economic strategy for the South East European region", which will lay special emphasis also on social related aspects of economic reconstruction. The Council of Europe is associated with this.

4.       Within the Stability Pact, a Donors' conference may be convened. Screening criteria and guidelines for the selection of projects to be financed are being elaborated by the High Level Steering Group (composed of representatives of the European Commission, the World Bank and a number of donor countries).

5.       As far as long-term financial assistance is concerned, the Committee of Ministers recalls that the Social Development Fund may provide assistance to the participating countries in the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe by granting loans at advantageous terms to its member countries in the region. The Fund gives priority to projects which "help in solving the social problems with which European countries are or may be faced as a result of the presence of refugees, displaced persons or migrants consequent upon movements of refugees or other forced movements of populations" and the social problems of "victims of natural or ecological disasters ". It can also fund projects in the sectors of job creation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), social housing, health, education, protection of the environment, rural modernisation, rehabilitation of disadvantaged urban areas and rehabilitation of the historic heritage1.

6.       The Committee of Ministers welcomes the role played by the Parliamentary Assembly as a parliamentary forum for international organisations such as the OECD, the EBRD, the World Bank , the IMF, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the WTO in order to monitor their efforts in South East Europe.

7.       As far as Recommendation 1424 is concerned, the Committee of Ministers, forwarded it to member governments, calling their attention more particularly to para.10.i.b. of the Recommendation on the protection of the most vulnerable groups during the coming winter form the possible dangerous consequences of the application of sanctions. In this connection, they invited governments to examine the possibility of providing humanitarian aid specifically targeted for the most vulnerable population groups in Serbia and Montenegro, including aid in the form of energy resources.

8.       The Committee of Ministers recalls the contribution given by the Council of Europe to UNHCR in monitoring the registration and issuance of identity cards to Kosovo refugees temporarily living in Albania during the Summer of 1999, and the on-going joint Council of Europe/UNICEF programme on psycho-social assistance for children with refugee, displacement and war trauma in Kosovo and surrounding regions, aimed at helping to heal and support traumatised children and carried out in the framework of the Council of Europe’s programme for children. This programme is operational since 13 July 1999 and should continue into February 2000.


1

       Currently the Fund has 35 member States: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Turkey.