Expenditure of the Parliamentary Assembly for the biennium 2018-2019
- Parliamentary Assembly
adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of
the Assembly, on 30 May 2017 (see Doc. 14319, report of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities
and Institutional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr George Loucaides).
1. In pursuance
of Committee of Ministers Resolution (53) 38 on the budgetary system
of the Consultative Assembly and Article 24 of the Financial Regulations,
the Parliamentary Assembly issues an opinion concerning the expenditure
relating to its operation. Since 2010, the Assembly has presented
the opinion concerning its own expenditure in the form of a resolution,
which in this case refers to the biennium 2018-2019. The amounts
allocated to the Assembly in the ordinary budget of the Council
of Europe cover its expenditure on staff and the costs associated
with its own functioning, including the functioning of its political
2. Growing economic and social inequalities in Europe and beyond
and increased poverty and social exclusion are providing fertile
ground for populism, extremism, racism, xenophobia and terrorism
to develop, thus undermining Council of Europe core values and principles.
The Assembly believes that the Council of Europe is the European
organisation best suited to counter these threats and take up these
challenges while promoting respect for human rights and fundamental
3. The Assembly fully endorses the three priority themes of the
Secretary General of the Council of Europe for the next biennium,
namely tackling the rise in populism, dealing with the refugee and
migrant crisis and combating terrorism. It believes that the upsurge
in populism in Europe and beyond and the general rise in all forms
of extremism that breed hatred are playing a part in destabilising
our democracies. That is why the Assembly has made combating this
phenomenon the core task of its No Hate Parliamentary Alliance and
more generally of its work for the 2018-2019 biennium.
4. In the area of election observation, the Assembly will pay
close attention to the dangers of the increase in populist and extremist
tendencies in election campaigns, in particular through media coverage
of elections and social media.
5. With regard to the issue of migrants and refugees, the Assembly
will focus its work on migrants’ access to rights, problems in terms
of reception, transit and integration and humanitarian operations
relating to the migration crisis, as well as the issue of migrant
children and young people.
6. The Assembly will also continue its visits to reception and
detention centres for refugees and asylum seekers, as well as its
campaign to end immigration detention of children. Lastly, regional
political contexts will remain on its agenda in relation not only
to the consequences of conflicts outside Europe but also to those remaining
7. With regard to the fight against terrorism, the Assembly will
focus more particularly on the growing number of women and girls
willing to join Daesh and on the question of “terrorists acting
alone”. In this connection, the Assembly calls for strengthening
mutual assistance between member States in terrorist cases.
8. Among the other aspects of the fight against terrorism, the
Assembly will propose activities aimed at prosecuting and punishing
the crimes against humanity committed by Daesh and intends to look
into states of emergency and problems of proportionality concerning
the derogations granted under Article 15 of the European Convention
on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”), as well as the compatibility
of Sharia law with the Convention.
9. The Assembly also wishes to strengthen its action in the area
of social rights with the aim of combating the ever-widening social
and economic inequalities in Europe. In addition, it intends to
support all initiatives aimed at making the system of the European
Social Charter (ETS No. 35 and ETS No. 163 (revised)) the basis for
the social pillar of the European Union so as to help build a more
harmonised social and inclusive Europe.
10. In terms of combating corruption, the Assembly intends to
strengthen the mechanisms for implementing the code of conduct for
members of the Assembly and related sanctions, as well as the rules
governing lobbying. To that end, the Assembly has stepped up its
co-operation with the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)
with a view to assessing the Assembly’s integrity framework and
its mechanisms for implementing rules of conduct. Moreover, with
regard to the allegations of corruption in the Assembly, on 25 April
2017 the Assembly ratified the terms of reference of the independent
external investigation body.
The Assembly will also continue to support certain awareness-raising
campaigns on key themes, including in particular:
11.1 the parliamentary network “Women
Free from Violence”;
11.2 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
11.3 the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance;
11.4 the Parliamentary Campaign to End Immigration Detention
12. In addition, following United Nations General Assembly Resolution
70/1, adopted on 25 September 2015, “Transforming our world: the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the Parliamentary Assembly intends
to take into account in its future work the various sustainable
development goals defined by the United Nations, some of which are
central to its remit and those of its committees.
13. Lastly, the Assembly will continue to carry out the activities
provided for in its Rules of Procedure by holding various elections
in accordance with statutory requirements and the Convention (Commissioner
for Human Rights, Secretary General, judges of the European Court
of Human Rights), promoting the various European prizes it awards
(the Europe Prize, the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, the Museum
Prize) and observing elections.
14. With reference to interparliamentary co-operation, the Assembly
will continue to implement various assistance and co-operation programmes
suited to the needs of parliamentary institutions, in close co-operation
with the committee secretariats and the Directorate General of Programmes.
These co-operation activities are mainly financed through voluntary
contributions from the member States and joint programmes with the
European Union, in particular the South Programme (SPII) and the
Eastern Partnership Programmatic Cooperation Framework (PCF), which
has been extended for a three-year period ending in 2020. In addition, a
number of action plans launched in 2017 will be continued in 2018-2019,
in particular those concerning Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and
15. The Assembly will also continue its policy of seeking financial
resources from governments and parliaments with a view to implementing
in 2018 and 2019 several multilateral projects aimed at promoting European
and international standards through parliamentary action, focusing
more particularly on diaspora policies, social rights, the No Hate
Parliamentary Alliance and the protection of public and child health.
16. In addition, through these various co-operation programmes,
the Assembly intends to develop awareness-raising activities for
parliamentarians and parliamentary officials on the question of
national implementation of the judgments and case law of the European
Court of Human Rights.
17. The Assembly wishes to express its sincere appreciation to
those member States and their parliaments (in particular Andorra,
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg,
the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland) which,
through their contributions, have enabled it to finance activities
relating in particular to the promotion of the Council of Europe
Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and
Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, “Istanbul Convention”) and the Council
of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual
Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS No. 201, “Lanzarote Convention”)
and the outreach and prestige of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize.
18. As regards external communication and visibility, the Assembly
will continue its modernisation efforts, in particular through technical
developments concerning its website, with the incorporation of a
video on demand (VOD) system. This policy also seeks to improve
the integration of Assembly members so that their work within the
Assembly is given a higher profile on their own websites and those
of national parliaments.
19. The Assembly thanks the Secretary General of the Council of
Europe for the major renovation work in the Assembly chamber scheduled
for the next biennium under the Council of Europe’s “Capital Master
Plan” for building projects. The work due to take place from February
2018 to March 2019 will oblige the Assembly to hold the plenary
sittings of four part-sessions elsewhere. High-level contacts have
been made with the European Parliament, which has agreed to the
Assembly’s plenary sessions being held in its chamber during this
period, as well as the 2018 session of the Congress of Local and
Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the World Forum
for Democracy (November 2018). Nevertheless, the Assembly will have
to cover some expenses relating to security and organisational matters
if the plenary sittings are held in the chamber of the European
20. With regard to the budget for the next biennium, and given
the member States’ current policy of maintaining zero nominal growth
in their contributions to the Organisation’s ordinary budget (contributions
are frozen at their current level with no adjustment for inflation),
the Secretary General has asked all entities, including the Assembly,
to submit budgetary proposals on the basis of the appropriations
received in 2017, while taking account of the need to identify savings
so as to offset the rate of increase in the ordinary budget (to
offset the impact of inflation) and any salary adjustments in 2018
21. The Assembly will have to find the funds needed to cover the
salary adjustments for its staff within its current appropriations
package. The adjustment, the level of which will be known in the
last quarter of 2017, is determined by a reliable and predictable
mathematical method for calculating salaries shared by the co-ordinated
organisations and based on the trend in civil service salaries in
eight European reference countries. Given current estimates based
on the figures from previous years, it is necessary to identify
savings in the order of 1.5% of the Assembly’s appropriations for
the first year of the biennium, namely a total of €261 400.
22. If this sum were to be deducted from the budget on a pro rata
basis for staff and operational expenditure, the Assembly would
have to cut €150 000 in staff appropriations (or the equivalent
of 1 A2/3 post and 1 B2 post) and €111 400 in operational appropriations.
23. The Assembly regrets the current budget policy which has the
effect of financing salary adjustments through cuts in posts and
positions. It should be noted that, over the last four years, the
Assembly has had to reduce its staff by six posts or positions (1
A6, 1A2/3, 3 B2 and 1 C4) to cover not only the salary increases
but also the technical abatements on the payroll imposed by the
Committee of Ministers.
24. The Assembly reiterates its call on member States to return
to zero real growth, that is to say at least to include inflation
(which currently stands at 0.5% in France) in their contributions,
so as to stop the erosion of the Organisation’s financial resources
and hence the budget cuts affecting all Council of Europe departments which
will ultimately cancel out the positive impact of Turkey’s decision
to become a major contributor.
Appended to this resolution are:
i a brief explanation of the main items of expenditure;
ii a table setting out the Assembly’s work programme according
to the results-based budgeting method.
Appendix 1 – Expenditure of the Assembly
Vote III – Staff expenditure
1. This appropriation corresponds
to the basic salaries, allowances (non-recurring and periodic) and
social cover of the permanent staff of the secretariat of the Assembly
and of temporary staff.
2. The information provided here is based on the current structure
of the Assembly comprising 9 committees: the Committee on the Honouring
of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of
Europe has 93 seats, the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy
has 87 seats and the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
86 seats; 4 other committees have 81 seats. The Committee on Rules
of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs has 38 seats
and the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court
of Human Rights 22 seats. As at 1 January 2017, the secretariat
comprised 83 permanent posts, 4 structural fixed-term positions,
1 fixed-term position in respect of a programme, 1 seconded staff
member and 1 specially appointed official, broken down as follows:
1 specially appointed
1 B5 (programme)
3. At present, the secretariat of
the Assembly is organised so that the 9 Assembly committees have
49 staff working for them (including 30 A-grade and 17 B-grade permanent
staff members on posts, 1 B-grade staff member on a fixed-term position
and 1 seconded A-grade staff member).
4. The remaining 41 staff members (1 specially appointed official,
40 permanent staff members) work for the Bureau of the Assembly,
the Private Office of the President of the Assembly, the Table Office,
the Election Observation Division, the Parliamentary Projects Support
Division, the Central Division, the Communication Division and the
Information Technology Unit.
In addition, over the two previous biennial budgets (2014-2015
and 2016-2017) and on account of the zero nominal growth policy,
the Assembly reduced the number of its posts and positions (1 A6,
1 A2/3, 3 B2 and 1 C4) and its temporary staff appropriations in
order to cover the technical abatements on the payroll imposed by
the Committee of Ministers and the salary adjustments adopted at
the co-ordinated organisations.Note
Supplies, services and other operational
6. In recent years, the Assembly
has made substantial savings by rationalising its work to reduce
its operational expenditure. In 2016, the Assembly’s overall budget
increased to take account of the introduction of Turkish as a working
language (as regards interpretation and translation).
The functioning of the Assembly covers the following range
- the holding of the
ordinary session, divided into four part-sessions (which take place
every year in January, April, June and September/October);
- meetings of the Standing Committee between the part-sessions,
held at a frequency of three meetings per year;
- meetings, at times other than the four part-sessions of
the Assembly, for each of the nine general committees, the sub-committees,
the ad hoc committees of the Assembly or of the Bureau;
- committee or sub-committee meetings outside Strasbourg
- conferences, colloquies, seminars and parliamentary hearings;
- activities coming under the Assembly’s programme of interparliamentary
- visits by rapporteurs in connection with the preparation
of reports, including to countries subject to monitoring of the
honouring of member States’ obligations and commitments or to the
- election observation.
In 2018-2019, the Assembly will continue to carry out its
priority tasks and pursue the following objectives:
- strengthening the Assembly’s
political relevance and effectiveness;
- establishing a sound ethical framework for its members
with the support of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)
and ensuring effective compliance with it;
- raising the profile of the work of the Assembly and of
- improving Assembly members’ participation, while reinforcing
interaction between the Assembly and national parliaments;
- strengthening the capacity for interparliamentary co-operation
throughout Europe, including co-operation with national parliaments
holding partner for democracy status and with the European Parliament
and other European Union institutions;
- helping national parliaments to check the conformity of
legislation with the provisions of the European Convention on Human
Rights (ETS No. 5) more effectively and strengthen their ability
to monitor the execution of the judgments of the European Court
of Human Rights.
9. During the next biennium, the Assembly will also implement
a number of activities directly related to the three priority areas
of action of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe: the
fight against populism, the issue of migration and terrorism.
10. Corruption, political governance and the rise in populism
are among the priority themes for several committees for the 2018-2019
biennium (the committees on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments; Political
Affairs and Democracy; Equality and Non-Discrimination; Culture,
Science, Education and Media; and Rules of Procedure, Immunities
and Institutional Affairs), with several reports planned in this
11. The issue of migration will remain a priority for the Assembly,
which in 2018 and 2019 will continue its work on migrants’ access
to rights, problems in terms of reception, transit and integration
and humanitarian operations relating to the migration crisis.
12. In addition, the Assembly will continue to give close consideration
to all other issues, in particular social rights. In this context,
it intends to take into account in its work the sustainable development
goals defined in Resolution 70/1, adopted by the United Nations
General Assembly on 25 September 2015, on “Transforming our world:
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.
13. In the area of election observation, the Assembly will pay
close attention to the dangers of the increase in populism and extremism
in connection with electoral legislation and its implementation
and during election campaigns, in particular through media coverage
of elections and social media.
14. With regard to its assistance and co-operation programmes,
the Assembly will continue to implement activities suited to parliamentary
institutions’ needs and linked to the Council of Europe’s priorities,
in close co-operation with its various committees. The programmes
cover the following areas: sexual violence against children, violence
against women, the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, the campaign
to end immigration detention of children, the parliamentary anti-corruption
platform and the implementation of several action plans (concerning
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Ukraine). Most of the co-operation
activities are funded with extrabudgetary resources. In 2016, the
Assembly received €751 691 in extrabudgetary contributions (voluntary contributions
and joint programmes with the European Union) for its various thematic
activities (campaigns, action plans and the parliamentary dimension
of joint programmes).
15. The Assembly will also continue to support its political groups
through their allocation, which is based on a lump sum for administrative
assistance paid to each of the existing groups along with an additional
amount per person which varies according to the number of members
in a group.
16. To sum up, the draft budget for 2018 and 2019 in real terms
(not including inflation, salary adjustments and the possible freezing
or abolishment of posts or positions), which includes pension contributions
for staff, amounts to:
€11 312 600
€6 113 700
€17 426 300
€11 312 600
€6 113 700
€17 426 300
For information, the budget for
€11 434 600
€6 113 700
€17 548 300
17. This sum of €17 548 300 corresponds
to the 2017 budget adopted by the Committee of Ministers, including
the additional appropriations granted for the remuneration of a
national civil servant seconded to the Assembly for 2017. It does
not take account of a reduction of €81 000 in staff expenditure
to cover the 2017 salary adjustment.
Adjusted 2017 budget (following
reduction of the staff appropriations to cover the 2017 salary adjustment):
€11 353 600
€6 113 700
€17 467 300
Appendix 2 – Functioning of the Assembly
The part-sessions were provided
with an efficient secretariat in line with Assembly members’ expectations.
Percentage of registered
speakers able to take the floor (target 70%) (68.18% in 2016).
Committee meetings, hearings and
conferences were provided with an efficient secretariat in conformity
with members’ decisions.
– Number of meetings
per committee held each year (target no more than 10 per committee)
(70 in 2016 for 9 committees).
– Number of conferences
and hearings organised at the same time as committee meetings.
Parliaments of relevant member
States have benefited from interparliamentary co-operation programmes implemented
to respond to specific needs and priorities of the Council of Europe
and national parliaments.
– Number of seminars/conferences
held in connection with Assembly co-operation programmes.
The Assembly and parliaments of
relevant member States have received observation reports which evaluate parliamentary
or presidential elections and include targeted recommendations.
– Number of election
observation mission reports adopted by the Assembly.
Evidence of improvement (change in national law and practices) following
Public opinion in member States
has been informed of the activities of the Assembly and of its members through
traditional and social media.
– Number of articles
published in print media in which activities of the Assembly are
reflected (target: 2 500) (3 758 in 2016).
increase in the number of external users of the Assembly’s website
(target 2% increase) (2 454 000 pages viewed in 2016).
Number of interviews via the Media box (target: 100) (240 in 2016).