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Broadening the Parliamentary Assembly activities: scrutinizing of Council of Europe’s activities

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12324 | 25 June 2010

Mr Albrecht KONEČNÝ, Austria, SOC ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Doris BARNETT, Germany, SOC ; Lord Tim BOSWELL, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Ms Anna ČURDOVÁ, Czech Republic ; Mr Paul FLYNN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Obrad GOJKOVIĆ, Montenegro, SOC ; Mr Andreas GROSS, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Carina HÄGG, Sweden ; Ms Sinikka HURSKAINEN, Finland, SOC ; Mr Jean HUSS, Luxembourg, SOC ; Mr Tadeusz IWIŃSKI, Poland, SOC ; Mr Mogens JENSEN, Denmark, SOC ; Ms Francine JOHN-CALAME, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Reijo KALLIO, Finland, SOC ; Ms Birgen KELEŞ, Turkey, SOC ; Mr Konstantin KOSACHEV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Franz Eduard KÜHNEL, Austria, EPP/CD ; Mr Denis MacSHANE, United Kingdom ; Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Dragoljub MIĆUNOVIĆ, Serbia, SOC ; Mr Felix MÜRI, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Gebhard NEGELE, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Mr Fritz NEUGEBAUER, Austria, EPP/CD ; Ms Carina OHLSSON, Sweden, SOC ; Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands ; Mr Holger ORTEL, Germany, SOC ; Ms Marija PEJČINOVIĆ-BURIĆ, Croatia, EPP/CD ; Mr Johannes PFLUG, Germany, SOC ; Mr Stefan RUPPERT, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Indrek SAAR, Estonia, SOC ; Mr Leander SCHÄDLER, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Mr Magnús Orri SCHRAM, Iceland, SOC ; Mr Leonid SLUTSKY, Russian Federation, SOC ; Mr Ervin SPAHIĆ, Montenegro, SOC ; Mr Christoph STRÄSSER, Germany, SOC ; Ms Doris STUMP, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Björn von SYDOW, Sweden, SOC ; Lord John E. TOMLINSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Konstantinos VRETTOS, Greece, SOC ; Ms Nataša VUČKOVIĆ, Serbia, SOC ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC

The Parliamentary Assembly’s work covers a broad range of topics, concentrating on the Council of Europe’s core values. Its resolutions and recommendations are addressed to member states and/or to the Committee of Ministers.

The Assembly also scrutinizes the work and achievements of organizations and institutions such as the OECD and the EBRD. Surprisingly, however, Council of Europe activities are only rarely on the Assembly’s agenda even if there are some reports on the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre and on the Council of Europe’s Development Bank.

In addition to voting on laws and budgets (neither of which are within the Assembly’s competences), a core-competence of Parliaments and parliamentary bodies‘, is scrutinizing the performance of governments, governing bodies and their administrations.

The relationship between the Assembly, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers is mainly formal. Statements by the Committee of Ministers and its Chairpersons’ communications and the reports by the Secretary General rarely create the basis for fruitful dialogue between the Council of Europe’s statutory bodies.

Given the crisis affecting the Council of Europe, the need for broader public visibility and efforts to reduce its expenditure, it would be important to strengthen co-operation between its statutory bodies. This could be effectively done, if the Assembly started to scrutinize the Council of Europe’s activities and programmes regularly, based on detailed reports by the Council of Europe institutions, its relevant directorates general and the Secretary General.

The Assembly’s recommendations could contribute to streamlining the Council of Europe’s activities, and consequently reduce expenditure. The Assembly could also transfer parliamentarians’ national experience to the Council of Europe. A specific contribution could be to use parliamentarians’ knowledge of Council of Europe programmes and their relevance in member states when evaluating Council of Europe’s activities.