In its Resolution 1547 (2007) on the State of Human Rights and Democracy in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe expresses its concern over the increasing number of deficits in democracy and the dysfunctioning of political institutions which may be observed in Council of Europe member states. In particular, the Assembly points to problems relating to the representativeness, transparency and accountability of national parliaments of the Council of Europe's member states and invites them to take measures in order to overcome their shortcomings..
However, one also notes important positive developments concerning parliamentary institutions in various member states, including adoption of comprehensive measures to strengthen parliament in general and presentation of complete sets of provisions concerning the role of the opposition. A remaining challenge is, however, the persistence in Europe of "blocked parliaments", where co-operation between the ruling party/coalition and the opposition has reached a deadlock.
On account of the preceding, in order to ensure continuation of the process aiming at improvement of the state of democracy in Europe, actions aiming to enhance representativeness, transparency, accountability and plurality of national parliaments would be appropriate.
However, a preliminary condition for such actions to be taken is the identification of good practice and deficiencies specific to each national parliament. In this connection, the Assembly refers to the efforts made by some national parliaments, such as the establishment of a "Panel for Assessment of Parliament" by the national parliament of the Republic of South Africa.
For this reason, it is important to elaborate, for the whole of Europe, standards which would enable national parliaments to assess their compliance with the requirements of a representative democracy.
Therefore, the Assembly decides to instruct its relevant committees to consider elaboration of self-evaluation guidelines for the national parliaments of Europe, which bear in mind the work done by other international institutions, such as the "self-assessment tool-kit for parliaments" elaborated by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Another option to be taken into consideration by the relevant committees is the elaboration of a model rulebook for national parliaments, fixing basic rules of procedure helping to ensure plurality, accountability and transparency.