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The implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union

Recommendation 2060 (2015)

Author(s):
Parliamentary Assembly
Origin
Assembly debate on 27 January 2015 (4th Sitting) (see Doc. 13655, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Ms Kerstin Lundgren). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27 January 2015 (4th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly, referring to its Resolution 2029 (2015) on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union, notes with satisfaction that co-operation has been strengthened and has become more structured, strategic and political over the past seven years.
2. The Assembly strongly welcomes the comprehensive programme agreement on the financing of European Union–Council of Europe Joint Programmes for the period 2014-2020, which has strengthened the co-ordination, impact and sustainability of the co-operation programmes, in a spirit of shared responsibilities.
3. The Assembly stresses that the ultimate goal of the partnership between the two organisations, based on each other’s acquis and comparative advantages, is to pursue further the building of a common space for human rights protection and to ensure coherence of standards and the monitoring of their implementation in Europe. While welcoming the steps already taken in the right direction, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
3.1 enhance the role of the Council of Europe as “the Europe-wide reference source for human rights” by further strengthening its monitoring bodies in the context of the ongoing reform of the Council of Europe;
3.2 strengthen regular, institutionalised dialogue with European Union institutions, at all levels, especially on normative developments in the fields of human rights, justice, the rule of law and home affairs, and promote coherence of normative activities through consultations at an early stage.
4. With a view to ensuring in-depth legal co-operation, enhancing complementarity and coherence of legal standards and providing a unique framework for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe, the Assembly asks the Committee of Ministers to:
4.1 resume, without delay, negotiations on the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) in the light of Opinion 2/13 of the European Union Court of Justice and give high political priority to this issue, in line with political commitments undertaken by all parties involved, as reflected in the Lisbon Treaty;
4.2 promote and facilitate European Union accession to other key Council of Europe conventions, monitoring mechanisms and bodies;
4.3 further enhance coherence and complementarity with the European Union in the areas of freedom, security and justice, in line with the new strategic guidelines for legislative and operational planning within the European Union’s area of freedom, security and justice for the period 2015-2020;
4.4 ensure active co-operation with the European Union in the implementation of the new framework to strengthen the rule of law in European Union member States;
4.5 continue developing appropriate synergies between Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms and bodies and any new evaluation mechanisms to be set up by the European Union;
4.6 actively contribute to future European Union colloquia on the state of human rights in Europe and bring in the perspective and expertise of the Council of Europe.
5. The Assembly asks the Committee of Ministers to raise public awareness about the partnership and synergies being developed by the two organisations in Europe, especially in the context of European Union accession to the European Convention on Human Rights.
6. The Assembly, while agreeing with the Committee of Ministers that the memorandum of understanding remains a sound basis to continue guiding and structuring relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union, wishes to reiterate that the current focus of the European Union on human rights, democracy and the rule of law should ultimately lead to the accession of the European Union to the Statute of the Council of Europe (ETS No. 1), as also recommended in 2006 by the Juncker report, “Council of Europe – European Union: ‘A sole ambition for the European continent’”.
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