Rapporteur: Halvdan SKARD (Norway)
Since 2000, following its structural reform, the Congress has had new Rules of Procedure which have on the whole proved reliable and effective. Throughout the period March 2000-June 2002, these Rules have served to regulate the gradual establishment of the new structure, particularly the statutory committees.
At the same time, the Bureau has been aware of a need for greater precision in the rules governing the election of the President and those governing the election of the Chief Executive. At its meeting in Tampere on 4 February 2002, the Bureau decided to propose amendments to the Rules of Procedure at the 9th Plenary Session and appointed Halvdan Skard (Norway) as rapporteur. The purpose of amending the Rules of Procedure with regard to the election procedures is to take account of the experience of the first election of a Chief Executive in 2001, at the 8th Plenary Session of the Congress. Accordingly, the amendments proposed by the rapporteur seek primarily to establish a mechanism whereby the voters’ intention can be clearly identified and properly taken into account when the votes are counted.
In addition, in order to contribute to interaction between the various Council of Europe bodies and in a spirit of reciprocity, the rapporteur submits an amendment intended to foster more active participation in the Congress’s work by the Council of Europe’s partial agreements, in particular the European Commission for Democracy through Law, also known as the “Venice Commission”. The latter’s statutes provide for Congress participation in its work (Article 2.4). Similarly, the Congress takes part in the work of the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre, as part of the “Quadrilogue”, on an equal footing with the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the NGOs. This amendment affords them the possibility of regularly appointing representatives to participate in the Congress’s work in an advisory capacity.
It has also been suggested that clarification is needed in the rules governing the adoption of texts by the Standing Committee when it does so on behalf of the Congress.
The other amendments reflect, firstly, institutional changes in a number of member states which have occurred during 2001 (creation of genuine regions in the sense in which the term is used by the Congress Charter, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and, secondly, the accession of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Council of Europe.
The Bureau has discussed the rapporteur’s proposals and invites the Congress to support the amendments to the Rules of Procedure set forth in the preliminary draft resolution.