Democracy is one of the key values laying at the heart of the Council of Europe. Promotion, improvement and protection of democracy in its member states are the major tasks for our Organisation.
In the last twenty years that followed the collapse of the communist regimes in the countries of Eastern Europe, the Council of Europe has assisted the democratic transformation of these countries, provided them with advice in institution-building and law-making, and accompanied the emergence of modern societies based on common European values.
In all such transitions, the Council of Europe has favoured an evolutionary approach and has relied on co-operation with the governing institutions.
At the same time, a new political and social phenomenon known as “colour revolutions” occurred in certain European and Eurasian countries in late 1990’s- early 2000’s.
These “colour revolutions” led to the regime changes in a number of ex-communist and post-Soviet countries, including Georgia and Ukraine – both of which had been for several years full members of the Council of Europe at the moment of these events and were thus deemed to have at least started democratic transformations.
Now that the initial controversy about these “colour revolutions” has calmed down, it is important to study the common features of these events and assess the lessons that may be learned from them – both as regards the countries concerned and in terms of their impact on the overall process of democratic transformation.
The Assembly should also take a critical look at the role that the Council of Europe and its mechanisms played – or failed to play – before, during, and in the aftermath of these events.