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The need to amend Article 27 of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly so as to establish German, Italian and Russian, which have hitherto been working languages, as official languages of the Assembly

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 12850 | 25 January 2012

several Assembly members
Mr Martin GRAF, Austria, NR ; Mr Aydin ABBASOV, Azerbaijan, SOC ; Mr Miloš ALIGRUDIĆ, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Mario BARBI, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Joe BENTON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Oksana BILOZIR, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Mr Eric BOCQUET, France, UEL ; Mr Márton BRAUN, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Ms Natalia BURYKINA, Russian Federation, EDG ; Ms Sylvia CANEL, Germany, ALDE ; Ms Anna Maria CARLONI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Ali Salem CHAGAF, Morocco ; Mr Otto CHALOUPKA, Czech Republic, EDG ; Mr Igor CHERNYSHENKO, Russian Federation ; Mr Paolo CORSINI, Italy, NR ; Mr Vladimiro CRISAFULLI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Joseph DEBONO GRECH, Malta, SOC ; Mr Karl DONABAUER, Austria, EPP/CD ; Ms Daphné DUMERY, Belgium, NR ; Mr Joseph FALZON, Malta, EPP/CD ; Mr Gianni FARINA, Italy, SOC ; Mr Valeriy FEDOROV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Axel E. FISCHER, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Bernard FOURNIER, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Erich Georg FRITZ, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Giuseppe GALATI, Italy ; Mr Tamás GAUDI NAGY, Hungary, NR ; Mr Valentin GUZMÁN SOTO, Mexico ; Mr Christoph HAGEN, Austria ; Ms Karin HAKL, Austria, EPP/CD ; Mr Gábor HARANGOZÓ, Hungary, SOC ; Mr Davit HARUTYUNYAN, Armenia, EDG ; Mr Joachim HÖRSTER, Germany, EPP/CD ; Ms Anette HÜBINGER, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Johannes HÜBNER, Austria, NR ; Mr Rafael HUSEYNOV, Azerbaijan, ALDE ; Mr Florin IORDACHE, Romania, SOC ; Mr Kastriot ISLAMI, Albania, SOC ; Mr Željko IVANJI, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr José Luis JAIME CORREA, Mexico ; Ms Snežana JONICA, Montenegro, SOC ; Ms Nataša JOVANOVIĆ, Serbia, NR ; Mr Ferenc KALMÁR, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Ms Nermina KAPETANOVIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, EPP/CD ; Mr Qais KHADER, Palestine ; Mr Konstantin KOSACHEV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Ms Elvira KOVÁCS, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Ms Marie KRARUP, Denmark, EDG ; Mr Pavol KUBOVIČ, Slovak Republic, EPP/CD ; Mr Harald LEIBRECHT, Germany, ALDE ; Sir Edward LEIGH, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Terry LEYDEN, Ireland, ALDE ; Mr Theo MAISSEN, Switzerland ; Mr Gennaro MALGIERI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Sergey MARKOV, Russian Federation ; Mr Edgar MAYER, Austria, EPP/CD ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Armen MELIKYAN, Armenia ; Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, France, SOC ; Mr Jerzy MONTAG, Germany, SOC ; Mr Patrick MORIAU, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, Poland, NR ; Mr Pier Marino MULARONI, San Marino, ALDE ; Ms Hermine NAGHDALYAN, Armenia, ALDE ; Mr Gábor Tamás NAGY, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Gebhard NEGELE, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Mr Pasquale NESSA, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Fritz NEUGEBAUER, Austria, EPP/CD ; Baroness Emma NICHOLSON, United Kingdom, ALDE ; Ms Mirosława NYKIEL, Poland, EPP/CD ; Mr Joseph O'REILLY, Ireland, EPP/CD ; Ms Maureen O'SULLIVAN, Ireland, UEL ; Ms Nadia OTTAVIANI, San Marino, EPP/CD ; Mr Hassan OUKACHA, Morocco ; Mr Tudor PANŢIRU, Romania, SOC ; Ms Elsa PAPADIMITRIOU, Greece, EPP/CD ; Mr Danny PIETERS, Belgium, NR ; Mr Oleksiy PLOTNIKOV, Ukraine, SOC ; Mr Ivan POPESCU, Ukraine, SOC ; Ms Zaruhi POSTANJYAN, Armenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Volodymyr PYLYPENKO, Ukraine, EPP/CD ; Ms Vjerica RADETA, Serbia, NR ; Mr Luc RECORDON, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Kathryn REILLY, Ireland, UEL ; Mr Maximilian REIMANN, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Johannes RÖRING, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Armen RUSTAMYAN, Armenia, SOC ; Mr Aleksandrs SAKOVSKIS, Latvia, SOC ; Mr Bassam SALHI, Palestine ; Mr Ludo SANNEN, Belgium, SOC ; Mr Giacomo SANTINI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Leander SCHÄDLER, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD ; Ms Martina SCHENK, Austria, NR ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Jim SHERIDAN, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Bernd SIEBERT, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Leonid SLUTSKY, Russian Federation, SOC ; Mr Ervin SPAHIĆ, Montenegro, SOC ; Mr Fiorenzo STOLFI, San Marino, SOC ; Ms Karin STRENZ, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Giacomo STUCCHI, Italy, EDG ; Mr Vilmos SZABÓ, Hungary, SOC ; Mr Dragan TODOROVIĆ, Serbia, NR ; Mr Ilyas UMAKHANOV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Stefaan VERCAMER, Belgium, EPP/CD ; Mr Luigi VITALI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Zoran VUKČEVIĆ, Montenegro, SOC ; Mr Dmitry VYATKIN, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Johann WADEPHUL, Germany, EPP/CD ; Ms Katrin WERNER, Germany, UEL ; Ms Gisela WURM, Austria, SOC ; Mr Andrea ZAFFERANI, San Marino, ALDE ; Mr Karl ZELLER, Italy, EPP/CD

Article 27 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly establishes English and French as the official languages of the Assembly. The Rules further specify that German, Italian and Russian are simply “working languages”.

As all Council of Europe documents are published in the two official languages only, many interested citizens of the member states are unable to keep abreast of political developments in the Assembly, let alone in committees.

Thus, the fact that Russian and German, the languages most widely spoken in mainland Europe, are not official languages of the Council of Europe is particularly detrimental to the standing of the Council of Europe as an institution in its Russian or German-speaking member countries. The fact that German and Russian, as well as Italian, have hitherto been working languages of the Assembly, result in the claim to also establish them as official languages of the Assembly. Furthermore, this present situation creates a language barrier which severely limits the exchange of information between the Council of Europe and citizens, NGOs and businesses, despite the digital information and communications technology deployed, for example, in connection with the Council of Europe website “assembly.coe.int”.

Increasing the number of official languages could also improve the effectiveness of individual members of the Assembly as there would no longer be any language barrier to prevent them from keeping their fellow citizens – and their counterparts in the national parliaments – informed of developments in the Assembly.