Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – recent developments
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 9005
| 21 March 2001
The Committee of Ministers has studied
with close attention Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1481 (2000)
situation in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Recommendation 1491 (2001)
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – recent developments. It wishes
to recall that, since the adoption of these respective texts, a
number of significant developments have taken place with regard
to the Council of Europe’s relations with the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, including the granting of Special Guest status to the
Parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The Ministers’ Deputies continue to follow closely the developments
in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in particular in the south
of the country. They expressed their strong support for stability
in the region and their condemnation of any act of violence. They
appealed for a solution to problems through negotiation and dialogue.
With respect to paragraph 1.ii of Recommendation 1481
the Committee of Ministers has created a mission for the federal
republic, headed by the Special Envoy of the Secretary General,
who will co-ordinate the Council of Europe offices in the country.
An office in Belgrade (competent for relations with the federal
and Serbian authorities), headed by a special representative of
the Secretary General, is in the process of being established, on
the basis of the co-location arrangements with the OSCE Mission.
The office in Podgorica is competent for relations with Montenegro,
whilst the Council of Europe Office in Pristina will continue to
function within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
Assistance and co-operation activities of the Council of Europe
in the federal republic will be closely co-ordinated on the spot
with the OSCE Mission in line with the exchange of letters signed
by the secretaries general of the two organisations on 15 February
The OSCE Mission and the Council of Europe bureau in Belgrade
will be officially opened on 16 March 2001, in the presence of the
Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE and of the Secretary General of the
Council of Europe. The Chairman of the Committee of Ministers will
also pay an official visit to Belgrade on 19 and 21 March.
As regards paragraph 5.i of Recommendation 1491
, based on an
early needs assessment and on a number of Secretariat visits, the
Council of Europe prepared a programme of priority co-operation
activities with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (outlined in
document SG/Inf (2000) 48), which include reinforcing democratic
institutions, human rights and the rule of law, particularly in
the fields of the judiciary and the police as referred to in paragraph 1.i.
of Recommendation 1481
Expert advice on higher education policy, on media and on minorities,
for example, has also been provided.
A number of priority activities have already been implemented,
such as the 2nd Conference on Media Reform
held in December 2000 which paved the way for Council of Europe
assistance in the drafting of new media legislation. Referring particularly
to paragraph 5.iv of Recommendation
, the European Commission and the Council of Europe
are discussing a joint proposal to promote profound legal reforms
in the media field. A first step might be to provide urgent assistance
to the media experts who are preparing a new legislative framework
for the media (the Law Group of the Belgrade Media Centre and the
National Working Group (NWG) set up within the framework of the
Stability Pact Media Task Force).
The conference on the compatibility of the legislation and
practices of the federal republic with European human rights and
other standards (Belgrade, 16-17 February 2001) (see paragraph 5.vi
of Recommendation 1491
played a focal role in launching the programme of legislative and
other reforms to be undertaken by the federal and the republic authorities.
This conference, which had a high level of attendance by the federal
and republic authorities as well as by the Secretariat, led to the
adoption of a priority programme to support the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia in strengthening human rights and the rule of law
with a view to fulfilling the conditions for its accession to the
Council of Europe.
A draft consolidated co-operation programme with the federal
republic, which includes both the initial activities agreed with
the Yugoslav authorities and the additional proposals resulting
from the conference, has been prepared by the Secretariat. The Committee
of Ministers has given its support to this programme and is currently
examining the means to implement it.
The Secretary General’s Special Envoy participated
in the conference organised in Belgrade on 2 and 3 February 2001,
by the Federal Ministry of National and Ethnic Minorities, on the
development of a multicultural and multinational society (paragraph 5.v
of Recommendation 1491
This conference marked an important step in the new political approach
of the federal and Serbian authorities to relations with national
and ethnic communities and minorities, including the Gypsy/ Roma,
their recognition and integration into society and the state. It
contributed to preparations for new legislation as well as public
awareness-building in connection with the involvement of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia in the Council of Europe/Stability Pact Awareness-raising
Campaign to promote multi-ethnic society and democratic citizenship
for all – Project Link Diversity. With regard to the former, proposals
have been formulated concerning a specific assistance programme
on the drafting of legislation relating to national and ethnic communities,
and minorities. The Committee of Ministers attaches the utmost importance
to the respect of rights of national minorities and ethnic communities
in the federal republic, taking into account also that the federal
republic has applied to accede to the Framework Convention for the
Protection of National Minorities.
7. In order to favour complementary multilateral action in the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Secretary General convened,
on 19 December 2000, a coordination meeting in Strasbourg with the
participation of the OSCE, the European Commission, the Stability
Pact and the Geneva-based UN bodies concerned. The federal republic
is now fully included in all of the Council of Europe’s multilateral
projects within the Stability Pact, following the country’s admission
as a full participant in the Stability Pact in October 2000. Within
this framework, the Council of Europe contributes through its Paco
programme (Programme against Corruption and Organised Crime) to
a large regional project against corruption and organised crime,
which is now being extended to the federal republic. Similarly,
full participation of the federal republic in the various Council
of Europe projects under the aegis of the Stability Pact for South-eastern
Europe is being considered.
8. In its endeavours in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the
Council of Europe Mission and offices are instructed to do their
best to help competent international organisations, in particular
the UN institutions and humanitarian NGOs, working for the return
or the integration, as the case may be, of refugees and internally displaced
9. As no budgetary provision was included in the 2001 budget
for co-operation activities with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
a number of voluntary contributions have already been pledged, in
order to start implementation of this programme.