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Use by Assembly members of their dual parliamentary role – both national and European

Resolution 1640 (2008)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 28 November 2008 (see Doc. 11684, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Lord Tomlinson).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is the oldest and largest European parliamentary institution. It currently brings together 636 members from national parliaments of 47 countries. The Assembly provides them with a forum for work and co-operation on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, which are the core values it strives to defend.
2. The Assembly provides an international and European debating platform for the member states’ parliamentarians, who come from diverse cultures and horizons. At the same time, it offers national parliaments an opportunity to take advantage of its activities in order to improve the situation in their own countries.
3. The Assembly is convinced that its members’ dual parliamentary role, national and European, makes it possible, firstly, to heighten parliamentarians’ awareness of human rights, rule of law and democracy issues, thereby helping to promote them at national level, and, secondly, to draw the international community’s attention to problems that may exist in a member state or a given region. In addition, the Assembly notes this dual role’s growing usefulness in a world where European and national issues are increasingly interlinked.
4. It is conscious of the need not to intrude upon the institutional and constitutional responsibilities of the Assembly and national parliaments, as well as the need to recognise that members of the Assembly have additional heavy demands that compete for their time.
5. Nevertheless, the Assembly believes that its work deserves a higher profile in the member states and their national parliaments and that the dual role of Assembly members leaves them uniquely placed to raise the profile of the Assembly in their countries.
6. The Assembly therefore:
6.1 calls on the Bureau of the Assembly to:
6.1.1 single out a small number of texts, which reflect the Assembly’s core values, for communication to national parliaments and to national delegations, in the hope and expectation that national delegations will determine appropriate follow-up action on such texts in their national parliaments;
6.1.2 ensure that the effectiveness of such measures is periodically evaluated to ensure that they are properly targeted by simultaneously uniting members of the Assembly and attracting domestic support;
6.1.3 review plans to ensure that the Assembly’s desired outcomes are attainable;
6.2 calls on its committees to:
6.2.1 be concerned, in the context of the preparation of specific reports, with the views of relevant committees in the national parliaments;
6.2.2 pay due attention to the concerns of national parliaments regarding possible subjects of debate and reports in the Assembly’s committees;
6.2.3 monitor closely, in co-operation with the representatives of national delegations, the follow-up given in the national parliaments, if any, to adopted texts emanating from the Assembly’s committees;
6.2.4 specifically consider how to engage with members of national parliaments who are not members of the Assembly when meetings and other activities of the Assembly are being held in a particular state;
6.3 calls on its members to:
6.3.1 promote Assembly work and documents based on the core values of the Council of Europe in their national parliaments;
6.3.2 monitor the implementation in their national parliaments of texts adopted by the Assembly and take such action as is considered appropriate to achieve their implementation;
6.3.3 inform relevant committees of the Assembly of topics relevant to the work of the Assembly that are debated in their national parliaments;
6.4 calls on the national parliaments of the member states to consider the possibility of:
6.4.1 dealing with questions raised by the Assembly in their appropriate specialised committees;
6.4.2 initiating a review of their procedures for dealing with the texts adopted by the Assembly with the aim of identifying appropriate action;
6.4.3 promoting periodic examination of the state of ratification of Council of Europe conventions and identifying any necessary national action;
6.4.4 monitoring the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights by the national authorities and take all necessary measures for their rapid and efficient execution;
6.4.5 establishing a mechanism for considering the conformity of national legislation with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights;
6.4.6 seeking involvement, at national level, in the preparation and implementation of the programme of the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers when their country holds the chairmanship;
6.4.7 holding an annual debate on the activities of the Council of Europe if such is not already the case in their national parliament;
6.4.8 systematically drawing up reports on the activities of the Assembly through the intermediary of the national delegations;
6.4.9 considering how to mark the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Council of Europe in a significant manner, either by parliamentary debate or other appropriate means.
7. The Assembly asks the Secretary General to ensure that its communication methods through electronic means and the Internet are continually updated using new technological developments with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of communication about the work of the Assembly and thus the visibility of the Council of Europe.