Doc. 8665 revised

16 March 2000

Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe

Report

Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur: Mr András Bársony, Hungary, Socialist Group

Summary

The Rapporteur reiterates the Assembly’s position that the Stability Pact is a remarkable concept both politically and humanely. While it provides an important tool for resolving the problems that persist in south-eastern Europe and for safeguarding stability, respect for human rights and economic development, it is not easy to implement.

Several meetings and seminars have been held on the Stability Pact. Yet, most of the declarations made have not been followed by action. This has the danger of delaying implementation of the Stability Pact and diminishing the high expectations of the peoples in the region.

The Rapporteur is of the opinion that the parliamentary dimension is an essential element of democratic control over the Pact, its mechanism and its implementation. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has a central role to play since, with the exception of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all the countries concerned with the Stability Pact are represented at the Council of Europe.

The countries of the region should contribute actively to the implementation of the Pact and increase co-operation amongst themselves. The Committee of Ministers should continue its efforts to find additional resources for assuring Council of Europe involvement in the implementation of the Stability Pact.

I.       Draft recommendation

1.       The Assembly reiterates its position that the Stability Pact is a remarkable concept both politically and humanely; it is a key element of European foreign policy today. It provides an important tool for resolving the problems that persist in south-eastern Europe and safeguarding stability, respect for human rights and economic development.

2.       While the Stability Pact is an opportunity for that region, it is not easy to implement. Since the adoption of the Stability Pact in June 1999, several meetings and conferences have taken place and many different organisations have become involved. Yet, most of the declarations made have so far failed to be followed by action.

3.       The present structure of Working Tables and Task Forces, together with an influx of seminars on related topics, risks delaying the implementation of the Stability Pact and therefore threatening the process of democratisation and restructuring of the region. Furthermore, it diminishes the high expectations of the peoples concerned by the Pact.

4.       The Assembly underlines the importance that the participating countries of the Stability Pact, and in particular the countries in the region, be firmly committed to the Stability Pact and directly involved in fixing its priorities and its implementation.

5.       The Assembly is favourable to including Moldova in the Stability Pact as a full member.

6.       The Conference on the parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, organised by the Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee in Sofia on 25-26 November 1999, confirmed that the parliamentary dimension is an essential element of democratic control over the Pact, its mechanisms and its implementation.

7.       The Sofia Declaration underlines the importance of direct involvement of national parliaments in the implementation of the Stability Pact, through national parliamentary debates, bilateral parliamentary relations, as well as multilateral parliamentary co-operation.

8.       The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has a central role to play in controlling implementation of the activities carried out in the framework of the Stability Pact. With the exception of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all the countries concerned with the Stability Pact are represented in the Council of Europe.

9.       The Council of Europe has special expertise in areas such as the protection of human and minority rights, local democracy and judicial systems. The Assembly notes with satisfaction that the Council of Europe has started projects in nearly every field of planned action. Nevertheless, it deeply regrets that now that the Council of Europe has succeeded in becoming involved in certain of its fields of competence, increased contribution, and even maintaining the present level of involvement in some cases, depends on additional financial resources.

10.       The Assembly urges the Committee of Ministers to make resources available for the Council of Europe’s Pristina office, which has been operational since August 1999, so that it can continue its activities beyond 31 March 2000. It reiterates its earlier recommendation to open similar offices in Podgorica and Belgrade.

11.       The financing conference at the end of March 2000 will be a major event not only from the point of view of financing the Pact but also so that it can gather new momentum for the implementation of its numerous projects. International banks together with private foundations play an important role in this. Furthermore, the Conference will be an occasion for the participating countries to show their commitment to the Pact.

12.       At this stage, most urgent action should be concentrated in the fields of economy, infrastructure and the quality of day-to-day life. Stability and respect for human rights cannot be reinforced if the economy is not developed. Communications and transport infrastructure are amongst the priorities.

13.       The Assembly regrets the persistence of violent incidents in the region, notably in Kosovska Mitrovica.

14.       The Assembly expresses its support for the democratic forces in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It reiterates its earlier position that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must be brought to meet the necessary conditions in order to be readmitted to the international community, democratic parliamentary elections being one such condition. Stability in the region would be incomplete without the full participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Ways must be found so that the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia benefit from the Stability Pact.

15.       In view of improving parliamentary control of the implementation of the Stability Pact the Assembly resolves to:

i. invite the Chairs of the Working Tables to report at regular intervals to the committees concerned on what has been achieved and future plans;

ii.       organise regular meetings of the national parliaments of the region, the European Parliament, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other regional assemblies to evaluate results/lack of results and put forward proposals.

16.       It also recommends that the Committee of Ministers

i. continue its efforts to find additional resources for assuring Council of Europe involvement in the implementation of the Stability Pact;

ii. make resources available for the Council of Europe’s Pristina office so that it will be able to continue its activities beyond 31 March 2000 and open similar offices in Podgorica and Belgrade;

iii. appeal to the countries concerned by the Stability Pact to be fully committed to its implementation;

iv. invite its member states to contribute in an appropriate way in intensifying economic co-operation in the region in order to rapidly re-establish the communications and transport infrastructure;

v.       explore ways to bring the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to meet the necessary conditions in order to to be readmitted to the international community and to become fully involved with the implementation of the Stability Pact.

II.       Draft order

The Assembly, referring to its Recommendation …. (2000) on the parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe, instructs its Political Affairs Committee, if necessary assisted by other Assembly committees, to follow the implementation of the Stability Pact and to report back to it on the subject when necessary.

III.       Explanatory memorandum, by the Rapporteur

a. Introduction

1.       At a Ministerial Conference on 10 June 1999 in Cologne, under the Chairmanship of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, foreign ministers of the member States of the European Union and Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, the United States of America, Canada and Japan, together with representatives of international organisations, including the Council of Europe, adopted the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. It was officially launched at the Sarajevo Summit in July 1999. The Pact represents a collective effort of the European Union, the G8, the countries of the region and the key international organisations, to address the post-war problems of the south-eastern Europe.

2.       The Pact is a remarkable concept both politically and humanely. It provides an important tool for resolving problems persisting in south-eastern Europe and safeguarding stability, respect of human rights and economic development.

3.       Since the adoption of the Stability Pact in June 1999, several high level meetings have taken place. The South Eastern Regional Table, which held its inaugural meeting in Brussels on 16 September 1999, set out the Stability Pact’s working mechanism and structures. It approved the proposals by Mr Bodo Hombach, Special Co-coordinator of the Stability Pact, for a comprehensive work plan, the chairs and venues of the three Working Tables.

4.       The main future event is the Financing Conference to be held at the end of March 2000 in Brussels. This Conference will allow the international community, international banks and private foundation to show their commitment to the implementation of the Stability Pact. At present there are several projects, but the resources to finance them is not secured. The Conference will consider funding projects connected with the process of institutional reform and arising from the activities of Working Tables I and III. The Financing Conference will allow the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the Pact and thus confirm its credibility.

b. Working Tables

5.       The South Eastern Europe Regional Table has been set by the Stability Pact as a clearing house for all questions of principle relating to the substance and implementation of the Stability Pact process as well as a steering body in the Stability Pact process. Furthermore, it provides guidance to the Working Tables. The Working Tables on Democratisation and Human Rights; on Economic Reconstruction, Development and Co-operation; and on Security Issues, identify and prepare projects in conformity with the objectives of the Stability Pact. They pay attention to the coherence and consistency of their work with existing activities and seek to promote complementarity and synergy and avoid duplication. The Working Tables have established side tables and task forces.

6.       All three Working Tables have held two plenary meetings (conclusions of the most recent Working Table meetings are set out in document AS/Pol/Inf (2000) 05, english only) and several sub-meetings. They have all started work in their fields of competence. However, the present structure, together with an influx of seminar on related topics, has the risk of delaying the implementation of the Stability Pact and therefore threatening the process of democratisation and restructuring of the region. Furthermore, it diminishes the high expectations of the peoples concerned by the Pact.

7.       All effort must be made to avoid the Working Tables from becoming too administrative and thus further complicating and delaying any practical implementation. Heavy machinery, as well as costly duplication of efforts by different institutions must be avoided. Also, projects must soon be translated into concrete action.

c. Role of international organisations and the Council of Europe’s involvement

8.       On 10 June 1999, the G-8 Foreign Ministers adopted a number of general principles on the political solution to the Kosovo crisis. One of them is the deployment in Kosovo under United Nations auspices an effective international civil and security presence and establishment of an interim administration for Kosovo as a part of the international civil presence to be decided by the Security Council of the United Nations.

9.       The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, adopted on 10 June 1999, offers the structure for a peaceful development of Kosovo. The Resolution 1244 gives the international community, and in particular to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Dr Bernard Kouchner, the mandate to implement it. The Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is invested with civilian executive powers and he is to facilitate a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status.

10.       The actual interim administration of Kosovo has been given to UNMIK with four pillars including UNHCR, OSCE and the EU. Council of Europe was not given any specific mandate, but is considered as a full participant of the Stability Pact alongside with the OSCE and the European Union. The Council of Europe’s specific contribution to the Pact has been acknowledged in the various launching and preparatory meetings of the Pact.

11.       On 7 May 1999, the Ministerial Session in Budapest adopted a Council of Europe programme for the democratic stability in south-eastern Europe which included both a limited number of urgent activities for Kosovo and a programme of more longer-term projects for the political and institutional development in south-eastern Europe. This programme was subsequently presented as the Council of Europe contribution to the Stability Pact.

12.       The Council of Europe has been given specific recognised responsibilities as sponsor of the task force on good governance (ombudsman/human rights mechanism; local democracy; good governance) of the Working Table I and primary responsibility in the Task Force on Minorities.

13.       The Council of Europe is considered as a lead agency for two main projects of Working Table III, namely on functioning of an independent judiciary and on fight against corruption and organised crime.

14.       The Rapporteur takes note with satisfaction that the Council of Europe has started projects in nearly every field of planned action. Nevertheless, it is very regrettable that now that our Organisation has succeeded to be involved in certain of its fields of competence, increased contribution, and even maintaining the present level of involvement in certain cases, depends on additional financial resources.

15.       The Council of Europe office in Pristina is operational since 23 August 1999. During its few months of existence the office has proven to be of utmost utility for the Council of Europe in translating its action into practice and in providing first hand information on the situation on the spot. All means must be used to find the necessary resource to secure the continued presence in the future. Furthermore, similar offices should be opened in Podgorica and Belgrade.

16.       The Council of Europe organised an international forum on decentralisation, democracy and stability in Bucharest on 23-24 February. On that occasion a medium-term action plan for strengthening local democracy and transfrontier co-operation in the region was endorsed. The declaration adopted on the occasion appears in Appendix I.

17.       Up to date information on the Council of Europe contribution to UNMIK is set out in the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe (Doc SG/Inf (2000) 9).

18.       Since the beginning of 1998, the Parliamentary Assembly has held seven debates on the conflict in Kosovo and the Stability Pact and adopted Recommendations 1360 (1998), 1368 (1998), 1376 (1998), 1384 (1998), 1397 (1999), 1400 (1999), 1414 (1999) and 1422 (1999) and Resolution 1182 (1999).

19.       On 12 March 1999, the Political Affairs Committee organised a Colloquy on the political status of Kosovo. The aim of that colloquy was to foster dialogue between various political forces in Kosovo.

20.       On 25-26 November 1999, the Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee organised a Conference on the parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. Sofia Declaration adopted on the occasion appears in Appendix II.

d. Need for parliamentary contribution and control

21.       The Conference on the parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact, organised by the Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee in Sofia on 25-26 November 1999, confirmed that the parliamentary dimension in an essentially important element of the democratic control over the Pact, its mechanism and its implementation.

22.       The Sofia Declaration underlines the importance of direct involvement of the national parliaments in the implementation of the Stability Pact. This involvement can take place through national parliamentary debates, bilateral parliamentary elections, as well as multilateral parliamentary co-operation. The national parliaments can contribute in specific ways to improving regional co-operation and implementing the decisions upon which stability depends.

23.       The Parliamentary Assembly has a central role to play in controlling the implementation of the activities carried out in the framework of the Stability Pact. With the exception of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all the countries concerned with the Stability Pact are represented at the Council of Europe.

24.       The Assembly should organise regular meetings of the national parliaments of the region, the European Parliament, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other regional assemblies to evaluate results and lack of results and put forward proposals.

25.       The best way of improving the parliamentary control and contribution of the Stability Pact, would be by inviting the Chairs of the Working Tables to report at regular intervals to the Assembly committees concerned on the achievements and future plans.

e.       The Stability Pact and the political solution in the region

26.       After Nato’s 11-week air campaign against the Yugoslav military attacks on the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo and following the adoption of the Stability Pact in June 1999, the leadership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was forced to withdraw its military, police and paramilitary forces from Kosovo.

27.       The Nato intervention put an end to a policy of atrocities and ethnic cleansing carried out by the highest political level of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It saved a threatened minority, Albanians of Kosovo, from being completely driven out of the province.

28.       Since June 1999, the province is under international mandate. A military force, KFOR assures minimum security. A civil administration, UNMIK, directed by Dr Bernard Kouchner, seeks to reinstate a minimum economic, social and administrative life.

29.       UNSC Resolution 1244 calls for establishing “an interim administration for Kosovo … to ensure conditions for peaceful and normal life for all inhabitants in Kosovo” (para.10) and to facilitate “a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status” (para. 11. e) and “in a final stage, overseeing the transfer of authority from Kosovo’s provisional institutions to institutions established under a political settlement” (para. 11 f). Nine months have passed since the Resolution was adopted and all above seems still very far away. At present, peaceful coexistence between different communities does not exist and life has not yet returned back to normal.

30.       Kosovska Mitrovica, in the north of the province, marks the political and ethnic partition of Kosovo. Serbs that remained in Kosovo reside mainly in the northern part of that city; the Albanian population lives in the southern part of the city, and some of them want to return to their homes in the north. This situation has been at the origin of the tension in Kosovska Mitrovica that has burst into violence during the recent weeks.

31.       Divided Kosovska Mitrovica reflects the ambiguity of the UNSC Resolution 1244 in a sense that it remains silent on the political future of Kosovo. In fact, the international community still today has no clear strategy nor agreement on where Kosovo should be going. Should it be an Albanian province with an ultimate goal of becoming independent or a multiethnic province within Yugoslavia ? This doubt on the future of Kosovo must end soon with a clear political declaration.

32.       UNMIK, and Dr Kouchner himself, as well as KFOR have done much in improving the security in the region and in trying to normalise the situation. All this while international community has deployed less than expected international police force and trained personnel than was first expected. At present there is a need for more international civilian police in Kosovo to ease the burden on military forces.

33.       Kosovars, including both Albanians and Serbs, should start to have more responsibility for administrating their own affairs. In long term, there is a danger that KFOR and UNMIK will look like a neo-colonial power. In order to see a democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, elections, both local and legislative, should be a long-term goal of all those living in the province. This would allow the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to join the Stability Pact in full.

34.       The Stability Pact is at a difficult stage. A multitude of projects and proposals have been put forward, but the important step of translating them into action has not yet been taken. The Stability Pact itself does not itself have financial resources to implement programmes; it depends on contributions from the countries concerned, international organisations and financial institutions for financing them. The Financing Conference of the end of March 2000 will be an extremely important occasion for all those involved to show one’s commitment to the Pact.

Appendix I:       Declaration – Forum on decentralisation, democracy and stability in South-Eastern Europe (Bucharest, 23-24 February 2000)

Appendix II:       Sofia Declaration

Reporting committee: Political Affairs Committee.

Reference to committee: Standing mandate.

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: none.

Draft recommendation and draft order unanimously adopted by the committee on 7 March 2000.

Members of the committee: Mr Davis (Chairman), Mrs Ojuland (Vice-Chairperson), Mr Toshev (Vice-Chairman), MM Arzilli, Atkinson, Bársony, Behrendt, Bergqvist, Björck, Blaauw (alternate: Mr van der Linden), Bühler, Clerfayt, Daly, Demetriou, Derycke, Dokle, Domljan (remplaçant : Mr Obuljen), Dreyfus-Schmidt (alternate: Mr Evin), Mrs Durrieu, MM Frey, Gjellerod (alternate: Mrs Severinsen), Glesener, Gligoroski, Glotov, Gross, Gül, Iwinski, Mrs Kautto, MM Kirilov, Krzaklewski (alternate: Mr Adamczyk), Kuzmickas, Lopez Henares, Lupu (alternate: Mr Kelemen), Maginas, Medeiros Ferreira, Meier, Micheloyiannis, Mota Amaral, Mutman, Nedelciuc, Mrs Nemcova, Mr Neuwirth, MM Oliynyk, Pahor, Palmitjavila Ribo, Prusak, de Puig, Mrs Ragnarsdottir, MM Saakashvili, Schieder, Schloten, Selva (alternate: Mr Turini), Mr Sinka, Mrs Smith (alternate: Mrs Fyfe), Mr Spindelegger, Mrs Squarcialupi (alternate: Mr Diana), Mrs Stanoiu, Mrs Stepová, MM Surjan, Thoresen, Timmermans, Vella, Volcic, Weiss, Zhirinovsky (alternate: Mr Lukin), N…….. (alternate: Mr Manchulenko).

N.B. The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in italics

Secretaries of the committee: Mr Perin, Mrs Ruotanen, Mr Sich, Mrs Hügel-Maffucci