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"Building Greater Europe without dividing lines" (opinion on the report by the Committee of Wise Persons)

Resolution 1177 (1999)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 26 January 1999 (2nd and 3rd Sittings) (see Doc. 8286, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Schieder, and Doc. 8299, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr López Henares). Text adopted by the Assembly on 26 January 1999 (3rd Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) refers to its Opinion No. 208 (1999) on the report of the Committee of Wise Persons, "Building greater Europe without dividing lines".
2. The Committee of Wise Persons, set up by the Committee of Ministers to draw up proposals for structural reforms, concluded that intergovernmental co-operation should be simplified and rationalised in order to maximise the efficient use of human resources and facilitate co-ordination in the light of the new priorities defined by the first and second Council of Europe summits.
3. The Parliamentary Assembly considers that it should also adapt its own priorities and structures to the new challenges facing the Organisation in a multi-institutional Europe, taking into account the concerns of certain national delegations as regards its own visibility and working methods.
4. The Parliamentary Assembly fully agrees with the opinion of the Committee of Wise Persons that the European Union must be considered the natural partner of the Council of Europe, both sharing the same values, and is of the opinion that consequently co-operation and complementary roles between the two bodies should be strengthened.
5. The Parliamentary Assembly, therefore, resolves:
5.1 to reassess priorities according to the new challenges facing the Organisation;
5.2 to present specific and concrete proposals every year, in order to attain the principal aims of the Organisation, according to Article 1 of the Statute;
5.3 to reconsider the structure, composition and functioning of its committees and to examine, in the light of its enlargement, the number of members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the number of seats allocated to national delegations;
5.4 to reinforce its relations with national parliaments, particularly by submitting to their relevant national committees draft recommendations addressed to the Committee of Ministers before they have been finally adopted and invite those who do not already do so, to hold once a year a debate on Council of Europe activities;
5.5 to encourage its committees to meet with national delegations represented in the Parliamentary Assembly in order to discuss specific issues in their own field of competence, and in particular questions related to the ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe’s standard-setting instruments;
5.6 to strengthen its co-operation with the European Parliament;
5.7 to ensure optimal contributions from related financial assistance programmes of the European Union to facilitate the honouring by member states of their obligations and commitments;
5.8 to make full use of its status of associate member with the Inter-Parliamentary Union;
5.9 to strengthen its co-operation with other international and subregional assemblies, such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Assembly of the Western European Union, the Assembly of the Central European Initiative, the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation, the Assembly of the Nordic Council and the Interparliamentary Consultative Council of Benelux;
5.10 to reinforce working relations with the international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the EBRD and the European Investment Bank, with a view also to assisting member states in their efforts to honour their obligations and commitments;
5.11 to take the necessary measures to increase its own visibility;
5.12 to invite the Secretary General to present an annual report to the Parliamentary Assembly on "the state of the Council of Europe";
5.13 to instruct the Bureau to establish a procedure for developing, in the light of the outcome of the debate on a project for greater Europe, and in close co-operation with the fourteen committees of the Parliamentary Assembly, a vision of the continent’s future based on a political project to be realised.