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The promotion of active citizenship in Europe

Doc. 12898: collection of written amendments | Doc. 12898 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly notes two key developments in the relationship between State and citizen in post-war Europe, both emanating from the Council of Europe. On the one hand, the recognition of the right to individual petition before the European Court of Human Rights. This puts States and individuals on an equal footing. On the other, the 2005 Warsaw Summit Declaration which enables the reinvigoration of democracy both nationally and internationally through its strengthening at local and grass-roots levels.
2The promotion of active citizenship and the deployment of city diplomacy (when two different places work together to address similar issues of mutual concern) as one of the means of achieving it are consistent with the Council of Europe's own continuing resolve to enhance democracy in Europe.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 2, add the following sentence: "The Assembly stresses the importance of the Europe Prize, which it created in 1955, which has given a great incentive to numerous activities, friendships and partnerships between municipalities and their citizens all across the Council of Europe member states and it reiterates its determination to continue to develop this succesful instrument of interconnection at the level of municipalities."

3The Assembly takes note of the ongoing discussions, under the current British chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers (until May 2012), between different bodies and sectors of the Council of Europe about better co-ordination of work on local and regional democracy (the Single Programme). The objective is to improve visibility and impact. Central to this end is the promotion of active citizenship, both as a consistent theme for now and the future, and as a reminder that the aim of any more efficient and improved delivery is in any case to better serve the citizen.

23 April 2012

Tabled by Mr Oliver HEALD, Lord Tim BOSWELL, Lady Diana ECCLES, Lord Donald ANDERSON, Sir Jeffrey DONALDSON

Votes: 35 in favor 0 against 2 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 3, delete the words: "(the Single Programme)".

4Against this background, the Assembly calls on:
4.1the current and successive chairmanships of the Committee of Ministers to build upon the ideas agreed upon during the recent Ukrainian chairmanship for an “agenda in common” to encourage collaboration between the various actors as part of their initiative to “reinforce local democracy”, and to take steps to advance this end and its means;
4.2the member States of the Council of Europe to:
4.2.1take steps to facilitate the exchange of experience between and amongst cities and governments, with an emphasis on examples of practical ways to enhance participation, citizenship and good governance at local levels;
4.2.2put in place, in so far as possible, statutory or informal youth councils in connection with their local and national decision-making bodies, with a view to ensuring the possibility for young people to have a say in decisions affecting them.
5Regarding the promotion of active citizenship, the Assembly notes two types of worthwhile expedients: those which function externally and those which function internally. The Assembly supports city diplomacy as part of the former, and participatory budgeting, corporate responsibility and citizen engagement as part of the latter. In this respect, the Assembly invites the governments of the member States to:
5.1help restore confidence in democracy by encouraging the examination and exchange of best practice, particularly at local level;
5.2reduce dependency on public services by increasing local initiatives and control.
6In line with Article 11 of the Lisbon Treaty, the Assembly:
6.1urges the European Union to realise the ambition of citizen involvement in decision-making within the European Union;
6.2asks the European Union to broaden the focus of the 2013 “European Year of Citizens” to include issues of active citizenship, so far absent from its focus, which is restricted to the subject of freedom of movement.
7While Council of Europe chairmanships seek to expedite the Single Programme on local and regional democracy within the Council of Europe, the Assembly calls on the European Union and the Council of Europe together to enhance co-operation in their joint handling of measures in that field. This is to avoid duplication and to achieve greater efficiency, thus strengthening local democracy in Europe to the best advantage of European citizens.

23 April 2012

Tabled by Mr Oliver HEALD, Lord Tim BOSWELL, Lady Diana ECCLES, Lord Donald ANDERSON, Sir Jeffrey DONALDSON

Votes: 35 in favor 1 against 3 abstentions

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, replace the words "the Single Programme" with the following words: "a common agenda".

23 April 2012

Tabled by Mr Oliver HEALD, Lord Tim BOSWELL, Lady Diana ECCLES, Lord Donald ANDERSON, Sir Jeffrey DONALDSON

Votes: 26 in favor 8 against 6 abstentions

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 7, insert the following paragraph:

"Regarding the progress of a common agenda within the Council of Europe itself, the Assembly would encourage the following five steps: implementing the Chavez report (as agreed in Kiev in 2011 by the conference of Ministers for local and regional government); agreeing priorities annually; undertaking activity efficiently and transparently; reporting annually to citizens; and adopting administrative structures which support the new approach."