Resolution 69 (1998)1 on decentralised co-operation and migration in the Mediterranean basin

The Congress,

1. Taking note of the report of the Conference on "Local and regional authorities in the face of Mediterranean migration: from intolerance to development", which took place in Bari (Italy) on 2 and 3 October 1997, presented by Mr Salvatore Distaso, President of the Apulia Region;

2. Welcoming the success of this conference, which was co-organised by the Congress and the Apulia Region;

3. Fully endorsing the final declaration of the conference in particular with regard to the need for decentralised co-operation, at local and regional level, between the northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean to promote local democracy and inter-regional partnership, particularly in the sphere of demography and migration problems;

4. Bearing in mind:

a) CLRAE Resolutions 162 (1985), 200 (1989), 256 (1993) and 36 (1996) on the four Conferences of Mediterranean Regions jointly organised by the Congress and the Parliamentary Assembly since 1985;

b) Parliamentary Assembly Recommendations 1249 (1994) and 1329 (1997), the first on co-operation in the Mediterranean basin and the second on the follow-up to the Mediterranean Conference on Population, Migration and Development held in Palma de Mallorca from 15 to 17 October 1996;

c) the Committee of Ministers' decision (1998) on follow-up action to the conference mentioned in paragraph 4(b) above;

d) the provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Government on local authorities' external activities and those of the Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities and of the Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level;

5. Convinced that decentralised co-operation in the Mediterranean basin is a means of:

a) improving fulfilment of basic needs, such as education, sustenance and healthcare, in migrants' countries of origin, and also fostering reinforcement of democratic, pluralist local and regional institutions, in a spirit of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to the principles set forth in the European Charter of Local Self-Government;

b) engendering some of the requisite conditions for easing restrictions on trade, such as modernisation of area-based public administrative systems, renewed confidence, economic guarantees for foreign investors and strengthening of infrastructures, particularly means of communication;

c) enabling the implementation of policies on information flows and exchanges between economic agents on the shores of the Mediterranean, all the components of civil society and, in particular, NGOs active in various social and cultural fields;

d) encouraging exchanges at the social, commercial, technological, scientific and cultural levels, in order to lay the foundations of a genuine Mediterranean single market, based on local human and material resources;

e) stimulating financial aid schemes, investments, vocational training and programmes of co-operation in migration matters, aimed at working with area-based authorities in migrants' home countries to define the conditions on which they would consent to help control migratory flows exceeding the levels envisaged under the co-operation programmes;

f) guaranteeing an improvement in the effective use made of development grants in the migrants' towns, cities and regions of origin, where the decision to emigrate is taken, a decision dictated by national and international considerations but which is also made under the pressure of local situations of emergency;

6. Determined to encourage initiatives, under the Mediterranean policy of the Council of Europe, aimed at strengthening decentralised co-operation between area-based authorities on the northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, in particular between those authorities in more direct contact with migrant population groups;

7. Resolves to give political backing, through its sponsorship, to the initiative of the Apulia Region (Italy) aimed at setting up an inter-regional observatory of Mediterranean migration, responsible for gathering statistical data on demographic and migratory trends in the towns, cities and regions of the Mediterranean basin and for devising proposals concerning action in that sphere, to be submitted to the relevant body within the Congress;

8. Expresses its willingness to take a direct part, through its working group on "Euro-med" co-operation on local democracy, in co-ordinating initiatives for decentralised co-operation between local and regional authorities on the northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean aimed at strengthening local self-government and decentralisation, in liaison with the above-mentioned observatory and the North-South Centre in Lisbon;

9. To this end, instructs the working group on "Euro-med" co-operation on local democracy to examine the material possibilities of establishing a foundation, whose role, under the aegis of the Council of Europe and in particular the Congress, will be to receive contributions and co-ordinate research and projects to promote decentralised co-operation between local and regional authorities on the northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean aimed at fostering local self-government and decentralisation;

10. Requests area-based authorities in the member states of the Council of Europe to continue developing joint decentralised co-operation projects with area-based authorities on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, by establishing permanent links with the observatory, the working group on "Euro-Med" co-operation on local democracy and the North-South Centre, referred to in paragraph 8 above.

1 Debated by the Congress and adopted on 28 May 1998, 3rd sitting (see doc. CG (5) 12, draft Resolution, presented by Salvatore DISTASO, Rapporteur)