The Assembly has emphasised the essential role of universities and research institutes in upholding Council of Europe values and entrenching them in the social fabric. In the view of parliamentarians, universities have real potential to facilitate the implementation of Council of Europe conventions.
In this respect, the Assembly welcomed the launch by the Council of Europe of the OCEAN initiative (Open Council of Europe Academic Networks), which aims at strengthening co-operation between the Organisation and universities and research institutions. It particularly praised the work of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter and Social Rights (ANESC), set up in 2019, and that of the Italian “Universities network against gender violence” (UNIRE), set up in 2021 and funded by the Italian government.
Unanimously adopting a resolution based on a report by Marta Grande (Italy, NR), the Assembly called on member States to raise awareness about the OCEAN initiative in the academic and research world, via Ministries of Universities and Research, with a view to creating national thematic networks. According to the adopted text, States should provide adequate financial support to such networks, and set up a framework for regular evaluation, integrating in particular “the assessment of academic freedom”.
Finally, the parliamentarians underlined that parliamentarians may benefit from the expertise of academia “in scrutinising legislation against Council of Europe convention standards”.