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Safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy in Europe

Recommendation 2232 (2022)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 28 April 2022 (16th sitting) (see Doc. 15486, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Ms Marie-Christine Dalloz; and Doc. 15501, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Vladimir Vardanyan). Text adopted by the Assembly on 28 April 2022 (16th sitting).
1. Referring to Resolution 2437 (2022) “Safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy in Europe”, the Parliamentary Assembly expresses its deep concern at the democratic backsliding in Council of Europe member States, as noted, inter alia, by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in her reports on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
2. In view of this observation, there is an urgent need for the Council of Europe to step up its activities to support its member States in their efforts to achieve genuine democracy based on the principles of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, as enshrined in the Statute of the Council of Europe (ETS No. 1), while addressing the root causes of democratic backsliding.
3. For each member State of the Council of Europe, this is a responsibility not just with regard to their citizens but also to other States, insofar as only genuine democracies can guarantee democratic security and achieve this common goal of “the pursuit of peace based upon justice and international co-operation”, as outlined in the Statute of the Council of Europe.
4. In view of the above, the Assembly invites the Committee of Ministers to:
4.1 ask the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to consider ways of optimising and intensifying Council of Europe activities in the area of democracy and democratic governance so as to increase their impact and consistency, and to take this into account when conducting the mid-term review of its programme of activities;
4.2 set up a permanent platform on democracy, which would be based on the expertise of various bodies and structures of the Council of Europe and its activities and which would serve as a permanent platform for the exchange of information, good practices and innovations for the benefit of member States’ public authorities and other stakeholders in democracy such as political parties, non-governmental organisations and representatives of civil society, in conformity with the decision adopted by the Committee of Ministers at its 129th session (Helsinki, 17 May 2019) entitled “A shared responsibility for democratic security in Europe – The need to strengthen the protection and promotion of civil society space in Europe”, where it was agreed to “examine further options for strengthening the role and meaningful participation of civil society organisations, and national human rights institutions in the Organisation, with the view to increasing its openness and transparency towards civil society”;
4.3 in the light of its reflection on monitoring, consider setting up an early warning mechanism within the Council of Europe to prevent or address worrying developments with regard to compliance with democratic standards and practices in member States;
4.4 consider establishing increased co-operation with other international organisations which share the Council of Europe’s values and which play an active role in strengthening democratic resilience.