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The future of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (“North-South Centre”)

Motion for a recommendation | Doc. 11585 | 17 April 2008

Mr Kimmo SASI, Finland, EPP/CD ; Mr Ruhi AÇIKGÖZ, Turkey, EDG ; Ms Doris BARNETT, Germany, SOC ; Mr Vidar BJØRNSTAD, Norway ; Mr Márton BRAUN, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Ms Natalia BURYKINA, Russian Federation, EDG ; Ms Elvira CORTAJARENA ITURRIOZ, Spain ; Ms Krista KIURU, Finland, SOC ; Mr Markku LAUKKANEN, Finland, ALDE ; Ms Anna LILLIEHÖÖK, Sweden ; Mr João Bosco MOTA AMARAL, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Ms Antigoni PAPADOPOULOS, Cyprus ; Ms Gitte SEEBERG, Denmark ; Ms Tuulikki UKKOLA, Finland, EPP/CD
Referred to the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, for report, and to the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, for opinion: Reference No. 3451 (19th Sitting, 23 June 2008).

The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, known as the North-South Centre, is a unique institution created as a “partial agreement” by the Committee of Ministers on the initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly in 1989 and established in Lisbon in 1990. The centre provides a framework for North-South co-operation with the aim of increasing public awareness of global interdependence issues and promoting policies of solidarity in conformity with the aims and principles of the Council of Europe.

The Assembly considers that the 20th anniversary of the North-South Centre should be an occasion to give new political impetus to the centre and to take stock of its problems and achievements since the Assembly’s last report was debated in 2003, including the current efforts to overcome the crisis caused in part by the withdrawal of Italy and France from the partial agreement. Although renewed confidence in the centre and its activities has been demonstrated by the welcome accession of Montenegro on 1 March 2008, there is a clear need for greater and more sustained political support for the centre from Council of Europe member states.

In this connection the Assembly recalls that, at their 3rd Summit in Warsaw in May 2005, the Council of Europe heads of state and government affirmed that they were “committed to a new dialogue between Europe and its neighbouring regions – the southern Mediterranean, the Middle East and central Asia (…)” and recognised “the role of the North-South Centre in promoting this dialogue, as well as its mission of fostering European awareness of intercultural and development issues.”

The Assembly recalls its own agreement with the North-South Centre signed in January 2005, in which the Assembly “reaffirms its support to the priority aims” of the centre, and, “considers it important to consolidate the dialogue and partnership between continents and to continue encouraging the North-South debate among the Council of Europe member states.”

Therefore, the Assembly should:

1 discuss and establish its priorities in North-South relations and convey a message as to how the North-South Centre could help in promoting these priorities;
2 recommend that the Committee of Ministers do everything in its power to give new political impetus to the North-South Centre in preparation for the celebration of the centre’s 20th anniversary in October 2009.