790th meeting – 26 March 2002
Item 1.6 b
Council of Europe Information policy –
b. Communication and Information Policy of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) – Recommendation 93 (2001) of the CLRAE
(Recommendation 93 (2001) of the CLRAE)
The Deputies adopted the following reply to Recommendation 93 (2001) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe :
“1. The Committee of Ministers has noted with great interest Recommendation 93 (2001) on the communication and information policy of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe which the CLRAE adopted at its 8th plenary session (Strasbourg, 29-31 May 2001) at the same time as Resolution 113 on the same subject. Only a few days after their adoption these two texts were given preliminary consideration at the meeting organised under the aegis of the Ministers’ Deputies’ Rapporteur on Information Policy on 5 June 2001; Recommendation 93 was subsequently transmitted to the member governments after the Deputies’ 762nd meeting (5 September 2001, item 12.1).
2. The Committee of Ministers notes with satisfaction that in adopting Recommendation 93 and Resolution 113, the CLRAE has given direct follow-up to Resolution (2000)2 of 11 April 2000 on the Council of Europe’s information strategy, in which the Committee of Ministers inter alia:
- laid down a set of guidelines constituting an overall strategy for the Council of Europe’s information policy;
- stressed the central role of the Secretary General in the information and communication field, as the natural spokesperson for the Organisation as a whole;
- encouraged the Council of Europe’s four main bodies, viz the Committee of Ministers itself, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, to adopt a dynamic, high-profile approach, and stressed the crucial role played in the Council’s key field of action by the Commissioner for Human Rights;
- invited the above-mentioned bodies to draw up and implement a set of guidelines for their own information policies, taking account of the general strategic guidelines laid down in Resolution (2000) 2 and highlighting their distinguishing features, their responsibilities and their specific powers;
- affirmed its intention to maintain regular contact on this question with its institutional partners in the Council of Europe in order to develop the necessary synergies and make the institutional diversity of the Council of Europe fully reflect the coherence of its action;
- stressed the high priority which must be given to making maximum use of the potential of the new information technologies and the development of the Internet, which for the first time give the Council of Europe the means of reaching a wide public direct at a cost compatible with its resources, irrespective of the practical obstacles and barriers stemming from distance and time constraints that traditionally hinder such communication.
3. The Committee of Ministers welcomes the co-operation established between it and the Congress – through the Deputies’ Rapporteur on Information Policy – on this question. It is determined to continue and further deepen the dialogue in the context of the periodic reviews of the implementation of Resolution (2000) 2 that are conducted under the aegis of the Rapporteur on Information Policy in close co-operation with the Secretary General. It refers in this connection to the report which Ambassador Warin presented to the Deputies’ 790th meeting (26 March 2002).
4. With regard to the more specific questions and proposals in paragraph 13 of Recommendation 93 (2001), the Committee of Ministers wishes to bring the following considerations to the attention of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe:
a. The Committee of Ministers endorses the concern the Congress attaches to the strengthening of inter-institutional dialogue within the Council of Europe. It refers in this connection to the summary of the Committee of Ministers reflections on institutional matters which the Ministers adopted at their 108th Session on 11 May 2001 (CM(2001)72) and which includes an important section on the Committee of Ministers’ co-operation with its main institutional partners in the Organisation (see Chapter III, paragraphs 13 to 18).
b. In this spirit the Committee of Ministers has already responded in a positive manner to the Congress’s requests for at least an annual meeting between the Committee of Ministers and the Presidents of the Congress and its two Chambers and for the inclusion, after each plenary session of the Congress, of a specific item on the Deputies’ agenda under which the Chief Executive of the Congress is invited to report on the Session, the texts adopted and the possible follow-up action to be taken on them.
c. The Committee of Ministers notes with satisfaction that the Congress’s concern to reinforce consistency and synergies in the field of information and communication policy is in keeping with the guidelines laid down by Resolution (2000) 2, the cornerstone of the action of the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General in this field (see relevant excerpts from the resolution mentioned in paragraph 2 above).
d-e-f. The Committee of Ministers notes on these points too that the Congress’s emphasis on the development of the new information technologies is in conformity with one of the fundamental guidelines of Resolution (2000) 2, as recalled in paragraph 2 above. It takes due note of the Congress’s recommendations in this connection and agrees to bear them in mind in its future work, particularly that concerning the implementation of Resolution (2000) 2.
g-h. The Committee of Ministers shares the Congress’s concern to give the Council of Europe’s information and communication policy the requisite human and financial resources, while respecting the main budget balances determined each year when the budget is voted. This was the spirit of the discussions conducted last year, under the aegis of the Rapporteur on Information Policy, on the budget of the Directorate of Communication and Research. On the more specific question of the resources allocated to the Congress’s information and communication policy, the Committee of Ministers encourages the Congress to take the necessary steps in the framework of the budgetary package assigned it for its functioning, following in this the example of other Council of Europe bodies – especially the Parliamentary Assembly – which enjoy budgetary autonomy.
i. The Committee of Ministers agrees with the Congress’s view that the Council of Europe’s communication and information activities should be regularly assessed. This task has been assigned to the Rapporteur on Information Policy, who reports regularly to the Ministers’ Deputies on the implementation of Resolution (2000) 2. Such an assessment was only recently – 790th meeting of the Deputies on 26 March 2002 – presented to the Deputies, and Ambassador Warin’s report is being forwarded to the Congress together with this reply.”