Rule No. 1318 of 20 October 2010 on Guidelines for concluding agreements between the Council of Europe and other international intergovernmental organisations or public international entities
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
CONSIDERING the Resolution adopted by the Committee of Ministers at its 8th Session in May 1951 which contains provisions on the conclusion of agreements between the Council of Europe and other international intergovernmental organisations;
CONSIDERING the decision adopted at the 1015th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies on 16 January 2008 in which the Committee of Ministers “recalled that any formal step leading to the conclusion of memoranda of understanding with other organisations should be submitted to them beforehand”;
D E C I D E S :
Article 1 – Scope of the guidelines
These guidelines apply to agreements to be concluded between the Council of Europe and other international intergovernmental organisations or public international entities (such as the European Union), hereinafter “organisations”. They shall be taken into account when considering proposals for such agreements. The guidelines do not apply to agreements concluded by the Partial Agreements or with non-governmental organisations or other similar entities.
Article 2 – Principles to be taken into account when considering and preparing proposals for agreements with other organisations
The following criteria shall be considered/examined:
a. The aims and purposes of the organisation, which should be in conformity with the general principles embodied in the Statute of the Council of Europe;
b. The objectives and activities of the organisation, which should be related to democracy, human rights and the rule of law and/or should have the purpose of promoting cooperation among the members of the organisation in related fields;
c. The structure and methods of operation of the organisation, which should be such as to ensure that it may effectively co-operate with the Council of Europe and further the Council of Europe’s objectives;
d. The organisation should have legal capacity to enter into agreements with other international organisations; prior confirmation should be obtained that the conclusion of an agreement has been duly authorised by its competent body;
e. The organisation should have been set up by an international agreement between states or by another instrument governed by international law;
f. The governing body of the organisation should be composed of members designated by its member states;
g. The income of the organisation should be made up mainly, if not exclusively, of contributions from its member states.
2. Principles regarding the opportunity of concluding agreements
a. The nature of relations that the organisation has established with other international organisations or institutions, in particular with the European Union, the OSCE and those of the United Nations family, should be taken into account.
b. The purpose of co-operation should be to provide for consultation, co-ordination of effort, mutual assistance and possibly joint action in fields of mutual interest on the understanding that this co-operation is designed to further the objectives of the Council of Europe.
c. The degree and extent of present and/or future co-operation with the Council of Europe should warrant the conclusion of an agreement.
d. Consideration should be given to the question as to whether:
i. well-defined permanent arrangements are desirable to set out the basis for co-operation and to avoid duplication or are desirable for other reasons;
ii. difficulties have arisen in carrying out informal co-operation which could not be eliminated without the conclusion of a formal agreement.
e. The administrative and financial implications of the agreement for the Council of Europe should be duly examined.
3. Principles regarding the content of agreements, in particular the scope and method of co-operation
The provisions of the agreements should be consistent with the Statute and rules of the Council of Europe, and be as specific as possible as to the forms of co-operation. It should not create operational, procedural or financial difficulties which would outweigh the value of the agreement for the Council of Europe. As to the different forms and modalities of co-operation the following should be considered in particular:
a. establishing appropriate modalities for reporting on activities performed;
b. ensuring reciprocal representation at meetings of each organisation, subject to regulations and procedures in force therein;
c. exchanging publications and, as appropriate, other documentation;
d. indicating specific fields in which co-operation is required;
e. consulting at all stages of planning and execution of programmes of interest to both organisations;
f. defining the nature and forms of the planned joint action.
Article 3 – Procedure for concluding agreements
1. With the exception of the agreements specified in paragraph 3 below, an agreement with an organisation may not be signed on behalf of the Council of Europe without the prior decision of the Committee of Ministers approving its conclusion.
2. The procedure for obtaining the approval of the Committee of Ministers is the following:
a. According to the established practice the Major Administrative Entity responsible for the field of activity to which the agreement refers prepares the proposal to conclude an agreement and consults other Major Administrative Entities involved. This proposal should refer to, take into account and explain all aspects listed in Article 2 above. The main clauses of the draft agreement may already be included in the proposal at this stage. The Directorate General of Democracy and Political Affairs/Directorate of External Relations, the Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers, the Private Office of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General and the Directorate of Legal Advice and Public International Law are consulted on all proposals for concluding agreements.
b. The Secretary General informs the Permanent Representations of Council of Europe member States of the proposal to conclude an agreement with an organisation.
c. Permanent Representations will be informed that if they wish to refer the issue to the Committee of Ministers, they should do so within a specific deadline.
d. In the absence of a request mentioned in sub paragraph c above, or following the referral to the Committee of Ministers, on the basis of a decision of the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary General contacts the organisation in order to elaborate a joint proposal for an agreement.
e. A joint proposal for an agreement is presented for approval to the Committee of Ministers through its Rapporteur Group dealing with external relations (currently GR-EXT). Where necessary, in a specific case, other rapporteur group/s could be consulted.
3. Agreements which implement or follow up to an existing agreement with an organisation, which are of an otherwise subsidiary nature to an existing agreement or which deal with purely administrative matters within the Secretary General's authority to regulate administrative matters may be concluded by the Secretary General without the ex ante/express approval of the Committee of Ministers, as long as such agreements do not have budgetary implications and do not create legal obligations for the Council of Europe which go further than the existing agreements. The Committee of Ministers shall be informed of the conclusion of such agreements.
4. In order to authorise the conclusion of agreements specified in paragraph 3 above, agreements concluded following the procedure described in paragraph 2 above shall contain a paragraph on their implementation, e.g. as follows:
“The Secretary General of the Council of Europe and [the representative of the other organisation/ institution] may enter into such supplementary arrangements for the implementation of this Agreement as may be found necessary, provided that they do not have budgetary implications and do not create legal obligations for the participants which go further than the existing agreement”.
5. The procedure described in paragraph 2 above also applies to the revision of existing agreements.
Article 4 – Entry into force
This Rule shall enter into force on the first day of the month following its signature by the Secretary General.
Strasbourg, 20 October 2010
The Secretary General