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The Council of Europe on building common spaces in relations between Russia and the CE


by Mark Entin


Russia needs for the Council of Europe’s strategic vision, a clear enterprising line on the Council of Europe (CE) transformation into an effective tool for its external and internal policies, a complex program for the participation in this authoritative international organization’s activity. For the time being, Russia obviously has the lack of return from its membership in the CE and seeks for the use of the widest opportunities for deepening the international cooperation and drawing closer together with the rest of European countries, which are, frankly speaking, weakly and inefficiently provided by Strasbourg. The policy concerning the CE is worth the Russian authorities’ immediate attention. There are some proposals as well as their grounds for such a policy reformulation is stated below.

1. The need for a new insight into the Russian participation in the Council of Europe’s activity

The appraisal for the CE as for a peripheral, secondary organization engaged in insignificant humanitarian affairs, which has become popular in the Russian politicians’ environment, is far from reality. Such an appraisal directly conflicts with the national interests of the country. Well, the CE does not have any military muscles as NATO does. The Council does not have any economic power in contrast to the European Union (EU). It is not able to react to various crisis situations as the OSCE “Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe” can. But the CE has the other advantages which are also very important for Russia.

The CE is Europe’s conscience. This has been established historically. The CE’s activity embodies those basic values and ideals for the socio-economic model of development which are upheld by the EU, NATO and OCSE altogether. From the point of view of political culture, traditions and trends it is concordant with all of European civilization on the whole. The CE’s work can equip Russia with an invaluable tool for building the stable and equal relations with the rest of Europe. Due to the CE’s support, the Russian leaders could obtain the so needed recognition of the fact that the country lives under the same laws and standards as the EU and the NATO members do. This is required for the firm political, cultural and value base to be underpinned for a strategic partnership between Russia and the West. Russia is a weighty member for this one hundred percent European Organization. The situation here is unique in a considerable degree. It provides for Russia the real opportunity to place the CE at the service of its current and perspective needs, to draw its national interests together with the other European states’ interests, and to come up to their joint articulation and service. It would be simply unjust to not to use such opportunities as these.

But to do this, Russia’s policy concerning the CE must be active and as strong as possible. It is necessary for Russia to exert its influence upon the formation of the CE’s agenda. It is important that Russia could propose such a perspective concerning the CE’s development which would be efficient for all the other European countries, as well as for the division of labor between the CE, on the one hand, and the EU, OSCE and NATO – on the other hand.

The CE’s reorientation on the adaptation of the EU legislation for the needs for creating an All-European legal space, joint use of the CE by Russia and the EU for developing the obligatory legal acts in any field that both parties are interested in – all this could be the mentioned in perspective. The CE is the better for this purpose. There are about 200 multi-sided conventions on its credit side. There are also some fundamentals such as human rights, national minorities, bioethics, struggle with criminality in cyberspace, etc.

The relevance of such a formulation of the question is repeatedly intensified by those opportunities which Russia will be the president of the CE in May-November 2006, as well as from the developable work on the Organization’s Third Summit decisions for implementation. It would be very profitable for Russia to use all this for the promotion of its strategic vision for the CE which indeed is going to be worked out and approved. The nomination of Russia for the leading roles in Strasbourg would help to breathe new life into the CE and turn this somewhat decrepit organization into a locomotive of the united processes on the continent of Europe.

But for the turning of the CE into Russia’s external policy tool, it is necessary to change the state of affairs in Strasbourg which is dissatisfied to Moscow. For the time being, Moscow is permanently criticized by the CE. In its response, Moscow is blaming the CE for having double standards. Russia’s proposals concerning the solution within the bounds of the CE concerning the agreement of the mutual entry without any visas, the general standards for holding parliamentary and presidential elections, a comprehensive convention of the struggle with terrorism, as well as many other of its proposals that were blocked.

To correct this situation, it would be expedient to convince the EU and CE’s colleagues to use patience and persistence of the fact that the Russian political class really can see the existing problems in human rights, law supremacy and so on, that it intends to solve these problems and everybody concerned will certainly get the better of it. However, along with all these problems with understanding, the country’s leaders nevertheless consider that they do not determine the development vector for Russia.

The criticism would be the best reduced with an invitation by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and other structure to cooperate in developing solutions for the problems.

An application at the highest level concerning the special respect experienced by Russia for the CE, and about the state on the close cooperation with other countries within the bounds of the CE, as well as on the experience and professionalism of the CE Secretariat, which would promote for some improvement in such an environment. The demarches like these would help to agree with the CE considering that the proposals upheld by Russia in the CE would obtain the most favorable conditions and pass the green corridor.

Finally, to finish with the Chechen problem would turn the CE’s work as well as with the numerous and various claims against the Russian leaders ; it would be most advisable to propose a principally new vision of the Russian problems by the CE. It would be better to prepare such a proposal through the Federal Assembly’s delegation in the PACE. For this purpose, it would be enough for the delegation members together with a number of Euro-Parliamentarians and political parties from different countries to introduce the projects, recommendations and resolutions stating the ideology of the Russia’s participation in the Big United Europe and the belonging also to the Bureau of the PACE. The appropriate documents could be titled as : “From the neighborliness concerning Russia to the United Europe with Russia”.

However, these all are preparatory measures for securing for more successive and effective participation of Russia in the CE. The major task is to turn the CE to the solution for the new problems and challenges which face Russia and all the rest of the European countries are faced with, as well as to reorient the CE on forming the All-Europe legal, social, economic and political space. The Council of Europe has everything necessary for such a mission execution. The course of the mentioned task solution could be integrally included in the Organization’s everyday work on its recent summit aims implementation.

2. The new stage in the Council of Europe’s activity

The Council of Europe has always been and still remains the conscience of Europe and the keeper of its democratic values and traditions. The CE unites almost all countries of the continent. It is called to serve as a tool for their intimacy, providing for the Pan-European coverage to integration tendencies. The Council’s influence manifests itself far outside the union. Many of non-European countries gravitate towards it. In this regard, the changes taking place both in Europe and in the world really change nothing on the whole. Fairly, nations, states and ordinary people are interested in the CE strengthening, their needs to be proper understanding by the Organization and its activity effectiveness enhancement. All the CE’s summits have served these aims and goals to a greater or lesser extent.

The meetings between the various heads of the states or governments including those conducted on a continuing basis became the locomotive for all of the Euro-Atlantic organizations development a long time ago. The principal decisions on the questions faced by the states-members of the OSCE and NATO have been made at their summits. The European Union is impossible without the annual formal and informal summits. They obtained an institutional securing in 1974 already. They were legitimated by the Common European Act of 1986. The EU charters secure the Council of Europe with a status of the EU main guiding force. It sets the EU development strategic sector, makes the key political decisions and resolves any contradictions which may happened between the states-members at all of the other stages of the integration activity. The EU plans a further strengthening of its positions and securing a better acceptance and succession of its activity.

From this point of view, the conduction of the CE’s Third Summit has been integrally blended with a general tendency for the Euro-Atlantic structures development and functioning. It has been also corresponded with the traditions existing inside of the Organization.

The first meeting, which took place in Vienna in 1993, between the heads of the states or governments of the member-countries of the CE, exerted a vast influence upon the continent development. The reform of the European Court of Human Rights was started. The meeting authorized the CE to develop the international tools for the national minorities’ rights protection. It gave a signal for the creation of the European Commission of the Struggle with Racism and Intolerance. In fact, there was an agreement agreed upon concerning the CE expansion which would predetermine the continent’s face of today. The CE’s Second Summit in Strasbourg in 1997 finished with no less weighty results. It summarized the Organization’s activity under the new conditions, outlined the orientation for the future, formulated the current agenda and highlighted the priorities.

The same was expected by the European countries from the Third Summit – clear and certain decisions for setting the vector for the CE development in the changed conditions, the adaptation to them and to the Organization itself, and the methods for its activity, as well as for the points to that how and in which directions the construction of the Pan-European (building) has to be carried out in the upcoming years. The CE came to the new Summit talks with a solid list of fulfillments. But the problems and challenges with which the European countries faced in the beginning of the XXI century also raised a question of the need for international cooperation building-up and providing it with a new status.

Here are just some statistics which characterize the CE at the modern stage, its activity’s size and its opportunities. There are 46 states in the CE. 800 million of Europeans serve by the cooperation mechanisms created by it. It provides for a unique ground for the discussion of any problems in both European and global development. Not only does intergovernmental, but also inter-parliamentary dialogue is hold within the CE’s bounds. Hundreds of the non-governmental organizations are involved. Moreover, the CE tries to work directly with the states-members’ civic society. About 200 conventions and other international legal documents are developed by the Council. By their legal and political consequences for the member-states intimacy, the legislation and law-enforcement practice harmonization and the activity coordination, they can be equated with the 25 thousand of bilateral treaties. But only, in contrast to them, can they provide for a much more unity and uniformity. The ?? is not limited by Strasbourg alone. As a matter of fact, it is the whole family of the European organizations of a different competence. A large group of the intergovernmental organizations created on the basis of the partly open agreements, are largely associate with it. The most famous of them are the European Pharmacopoeia, the European Commission for Democracy through the Law (the Venetian Commission), the Group of the States on the Struggle with Corruption (GSSC/GRECO), the Bank of Development of the Council of Europe and many others. The European Court of Human Rights is the most valuable property of the CE. It provides for the European Convention of Human Rights uniform interpretation and application on the whole continent. A large contribution into the forming of the Big Europe based in common ideals and values, is made by such the CE’s special bodies such as the Bureau of the CE’s Commissar on Human Rights and the Committee for Prevention for Tortures and Inhuman or Disgraced Treatment or Punishment. There are also such organizations among them as the European Commission for Struggle with Racism and Intolerance, the European Commission for Justice Effectiveness, the Advisory Council of Judges of Europe, the MONEYVAL Committee which is engaged in the fight against money-laundering measures assessment and some others. The CE has a highly professional and thoroughly selected Secretariat. Thus, the CE has a huge expert, intellectual and organizational potential. The task is to use it optimally for the welfare of the member-states and the nations of Europe. The CE’s Third Summit should have been engaged in its examination, especially in the light of the new problems and challenges.

In spite of the end of the cold war and the appearance of some good premises for a painless, coordinated and mutually beneficial development, the democratic world has been faced with huge problems of baffling complexity and intensity. They have the need for a firm joint action. There cannot be a monopoly in truth and infallibility. Democratic states do not have the right for the use of unilateral and self-interested approaches. It is necessary to fight together, with no exceptions, against international terrorism which acquired a monstrous size in the recent years. The dialogue between civilizations should be added with a coordinated struggle with the extremist forces which unleashed the war between them. There is a need for skilful and competent confrontation against the forces of organized crime, drug industry, pandemics and epidemics of the new generation, sheer loss of environment, and the moral and ethic impoverishment of mankind.

Within the next few years, Europe will have to again and again to prove the preference of its model for the socioeconomic development based on the ideals of freedom, democracy and the protection of human rights. It is important for Europe to achieve this high level of competitiveness, while not yielding in its social and democratic gains to the American colossus and the fast-progressive countries of South-Eastern Asia in the economic competition. It has to unite its resources and opportunities for this purpose. It is necessary to form for the common good of all Europe, but not for its separate parts of the political culture of mutual respect, equality, joint search for solutions and fair execution of agreements. It is important to accelerate the building of an All-Europe legal, humanitarian and democratic space. It is it is of no less importance to underpin the firm bases of the overall economic cooperation and such economic freedoms as the freedom in man power, goods, services and stocks movement.

One more category of problems the optimal approaches to the decisions for which should have been discussed at the Summit is concerned with a further building of Europe, in fact. For the time being, the European Union already includes 25 member-states of the CE. In two years, this figure will increase to 27. Then, after the shock caused by the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands, it will exceed 30 and more states. Let us add Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and diminutive states which have the particularly close associations with the European Union. In fact, before our eyes the Council of Europe is turning into an Organization composed of the zone of the EU and the East of Europe and Transcaucasia. This cannot but have the most serious effect on its functioning. But in future, the CE’s activity also must take into account the fact that the process of democratization, modernization and westernization of the East of Europe which started in the 90s, has mainly completed. The CE has executed its mission as for the moving the new democracies closer up to the European standards. Now, the European Court of Human Rights can proceed with the started in a usual format and with its inherent legal and technical methods. The Council of Europe has to look for new benchmarks. It should have been important for it to point to the new work methods and, maybe, to lay more emphasis on those which it used so widely and successfully in the previous decades.

Of course, the Third Summit could not answer all of the raised questions. It was hard to expect this in the conditions while as the member-states did not have any answer. But, anyway, the Summit could start work on trying to understand them.

The third meeting between the heads of the states and governments of the CE’s member-states took place in Warsaw on May, 16-17 2005. The Political Declaration and the Plan of Action were approved there. The meeting authorized the CE for further focusing its efforts on the protection and promotion of the human rights common values and ideals, as well as the government of law and democracy [1] . Into the CE’s primary duties it included the strengthening of the Europeans’ personal security, first of all, by the deepening of the international cooperation in the struggle with terrorism, organized crime and human traffic [2] . It laid the emphasis on the necessity for the CE closer cooperation with the other international and, mainly, European organizations and structures [3].

The day before the Summit between the member-states, some serious disputes on the CE’s future orientation were raised. Most of the EU countries insisted that the CE concentrate upon the subjects of human rights and the related questions. Russia and a number of other states called for the retention of the complex and diversified profile of its activity which meets the CE’s mandate as an international organization of common competence. Having taken this into consideration, all the confirmations of the main directions of the CE’s activity became the most important merit of the Summit.

The Summit supported the effective democracy and management [4], the weighty use of the CE’s rule-making potential and widening the cooperation in Law [5], the universalization of the CE’s conventions on the continental scale and their consistent observance [6], the cultural diversity and the clearance on the path to contacts between people [7], the promotion for the social solidarity [8], the intensification of the struggle with discrimination and intolerance [9].

The CE’s renewed mandate for the securing for the international cooperation on all these directions beginning from the promotion for the human rights values and ideals, a legal state and democracy, is included in the Political Declaration of the Summit. In some more details they are interpreted in the Plan of Action (though, it is also of a relatively general and declarative character) [10] approved by it.

One more question the Summit talks called for answering, concluded with whether the CE would leave for the European policy periphery or the member-states would support its increasing role in European affairs. The meeting satisfied its assignment. It supported the CE’s “consolidation” in a clear and definite form. As they declared in P.1 of the Warsaw Declaration : “We are full of decision to consolidate and improve the Council of Europe’s activity, its structures and work methods, as well as enhance its transparency and effectiveness, thereby, providing it with a proper role in the changing Europe”. The Summit made a whole number of signature decisions to support its intention as expressed in such a way. It established the Group of wise men for developing the complex strategy on securing for the effectiveness of the European system for human rights protection ; staked on the creation of the forum “The Democracy’s Future” (for enhancement of the democracy, political freedoms and citizens’ participation) ; authorized the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Junker to prepare (by personal means) a report on the interrelations between the CE and the EU ; authorized the CMCE to assign a working team of the high level for the carrying out of the examination of the Council of Europe’s strategy for the social solidarity in the XXI century ; called upon the CMCE and the Secretary General to give a new impulse to the process of the reforms of the CE’s organizational structures and working methods, having prescribed to the CMCE to hear and discuss the first out of the series of the regular reports on this subject at its ministerial meeting in May 2006 [11].

The time will show if these measures are able to exert influence upon the European architecture and the position occupied by the Council of Europe today. There is no doubt about one thing. In spite of the fact that the Summit significantly innovated nothing into the Organization’s activity, it expressed the firm political support to it. The Council of Europe got a new political impulse. It can be completely used both for a successive implementation of the plans of the Organization’s work, approved by the Summit, and for its turning to serve other perspective problems urgent for the European nations, as well as that agenda which is closer to the Russian Federation’s interests.

3. The updated agenda for the Council of Europe

Nobody in the Continent expected for any outbreak of decisions from the meeting between the heads of the CE’s states and governments. So much more important it is to take a clear view of the positives brought by it. Thus, the CE’s Summit talks reconfirmed the Council’s mandate on all directions of its activity. It gave the impulse to the Council for working more active. It focused the Council on the intensification of the cooperation with the EU and the OSCE. A number of the perspective institutional initiatives were approved at that meeting.

That is why the first task which the Russian Federation (especially, taking its presidency in the CE into account) and all the other member-states are confronted with, is to breathe some life into the Summit’s decisions. Now, there is need for some flesh ideas to be grafted on these decisions’ bones. It is important to exercise a creative control upon their implementation.

There are many provisions in the Summit’s decisions, which satisfy the Russian Federation completely. And they are not only the slogans like “Europe without discriminating lines”. They are also concerned with a widening of the pragmatic daily international cooperation in the field of the social solidarity, health protection, culture, education, struggle with criminality and many other fields. It would be convenient for Russia to achieve their successive implementation. But for this purpose, within the bounds of the CE (as mentioned above), it is necessary to carry out of an active aggressive policy, intercept the initiative and interweave just those aspects and problems into the practice of cooperation on the agreed activities, which are interesting for the Russian state, Russian ministries and departments, Russian businesses, Russian scientific production associations and to the Russians, on the whole.

The secondary task is to propose their own reading of the Summit’s decisions, which would not be different from the reading in which the other European countries could provide, but which, to a greater extent, would take into consideration the Russian Federation’s perspective needs and its possible strategy in respect to the CE. It might be as well to convince the member-state’s capitals and the CE’s and the EU headquarters to look at the Summit’s results and the future agenda for the Council of Europe with the following perspective.

First of all, the Council got the green light for the further formation of the European humanitarian, cultural, educational, social, legal and economic spaces as well as, partly, the space in the security area. The countries of the Continent are at the beginning of the course for the time being. The common space remains perforated and spacing. There is a need for it to be provided with a completely different quality. It has to meet the requirements for the equality, reciprocity, solidarity and the common interest. It is called upon to help the European countries in the implementation of the structural reforms for the pensioner and health protection systems, the system of education, social welfare and many other systems.

The summit was highly appreciated to the CE’s rule-making activity. It authorized Strasbourg to practice it’s actively in the future, too. The further intimacy between the region’s countries results in a growing need for such a work. It should have been imparted with the priority character.

At the same time, the Summit mentioned the CE’s contractual heritage inventory and universalization, in passing. It is obvious that the rule-making work within the new regions should be carried out hand in hand together with the renewal for the existing conventional agreements and their adaptation to the changed needs. But also without the CE’s contractual heritage universalization, it will be much more difficult to achieve a more effective use for the Continent’s countries intimacy. One more activity potentially laid on the Summit’s decisions is the activation of the CMCE work on the implementation for the numerous resolutions and recommendations accepted by it. It would be interesting to see if anything can be done for that the Committee of Ministers’ resolutions not only orally, but also in practice which could lead to the internal policy and law-enforcement practice harmonization within the Big Europe. The EC’s Summit talks underlined the Organization’s mission to take care of the protection and promotion of the common values and ideals which the intimacy for the Continent’s countries and nations must be based on. It is also resulted from this fact that the Council obtained a mandate for its reaction to the new challenges for the common values. And there are many of them. Only some of which were defined in Warsaw. They are not only the organized crime, terrorism, illegal drug industry, religious extremism manipulation, corruption, human trafficking and illegal economic migration, but also the public institutions’ power and influence weakening, the political parties’ crisis, etc. They are also the moral degradation of the society, the disappearance of moral benchmarks, the de-socialization of personality and the increasing estrangement, multiplied by the loss of trust in democratic institutions, international law and the United Nations. They are the gaps between the rich and the poor, the crisis of social welfare and pensioner systems, the new diseases caused by the irresponsible change in the human living conditions. They are the environment degradation and the climate change under the influence of human activity, which results in more and more monstrous and destroying catastrophes on the planet. Finally, they are also the removals of the European market economy and socially-oriented model competitiveness.

The priority character could also be added to the appropriate work. The CE should have become an intellectual leader in the above mentioned problems solution.

At the head of the foundation of the Organization’s activity the Summit put careful the attitude to the common property of the ideals and values for the legal state, democracy and human rights. It made their protection and the monitoring of their compliance the main forms of the CE’s activity. But if we really want to turn the monitoring into the tool for the cooperation, assistance, support and collective progression, we have to rebuild the current mechanisms removing the elements of speculation, dictation and double-dealing from them. For this purpose the monitoring conducted by the Council has to be more transparent, non-selected and equal.

The stride to the rationalization for the CE’s joint actions with the EU and the OSCE was made in Warsaw. The documents focusing on their activation were accepted. The new proposals are offered to be prepared, but some sets of the arrangements are self-evident. There is a need for joining Brussels to the European Convention of Human Rights and convincing the EU to open the full-scale representatives in Strasbourg. There is no sense to wait for the European Constitution ratification taking into account the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands. There is a radiant future for the joint work of Strasbourg and Brussels on the modal legislation, the national legislation harmonization and many other files. The idea of the future joint summit between the CE, the EU and the OSCE can be extremely fruitful. It will take some time for the preparation and it should be started immediately.

In a similar manner, from the point of view of the Russian interests, it would be important to have a look at all the Summit’s decisions without exceptions, at every line and every letter of the Political Declaration and the Plan of Actions, especially, in view of the fact of the use of the indistinct lexicon and compromise formulations in the course of their drawing up. Moreover, it must be done in advance. In fact, all those relatively general lines of the Summit will be later on translated into the language of practical actions and assumed the shape of the system of the “slightly different” certain measures and proposals.

Finally, the third task is not to miss all those interesting, perspective and beneficial ideas for Russia, which were sounded at the preparatory stage for the Summit, but were not included in the resulting documents for one reason or another. They could be fully reverted to in the new conditions and at the stage of the Summit’s decisions implementation.

Here are only some of them. In the early 90s of the last century, the Council of Europe was stated with the following task – to make the freedom, democracy and the values and the ideals based on them a common property of the European people. The Council was transformed into a Pan-European organization for its solution. The programs for technical assistance were started. Now, the task for turning the freedom, democracy and the values and ideals based on them into the European nations’ common property, is mainly performed. The Council of Europe has the right to be proud of that ; such a mission has fallen to its lot. Keeping the old priorities, it now, to a greater extent, could use its colossal potential, the readiness of all European countries to act together for a joint confrontation with the new menaces and challenges. They were talked about above in details.

To make the Council’s contribution into the decision of the Continent’s most critical problems and issues of the day especially great, there is a need for a massive scale activation of its rule-making activity. This has always been the CE’s strong point. The appropriate work must be put at the head of the foundation of the Organization’s activity. It must be carried out not only along with the other directions or activities. It has to be imparted with an absolute priority character. The world is changing quickly, it does not stand still. The new needs are brought to the forefront. It is not enough to protect and save only that which was done before. That is why the inventory of the conventional and other normative material (sui generis, acquis of the Council of Europe) accumulated by the CE, such material codification, actualization and modernization can be regarded just as a prelude to the much more dimensional and ambitious work. The CE will be really in great demand only if it follows the path of the development for the new conventions, new juridical instruments, model laws, codes of conduct, codes of exemplary practice, rules of fair conduct and self-regulation, etc., if it takes care upon itself of the approximation, harmonization, unification and compatibility of the national legislation on the continental scale. From this point of view the Council of Europe is able to show the way and to pave it for both its direct neighbors and other regions.

For the initiative of joining in such a huge, hard and very important work, the CE has to master (de novo) such an inherent for it and for Europe, on the whole, culture of respect to each other, pluralism, equality and co-creation. The bilateral programs for the technical assistance in the approval for some countries’ adherence to human rights and democracy, executed their mission. In some respect, this is the traversed path. There is no sense to repeat yesterday all the time. The bilateral programs must be integrated into the usual multilateral cooperation [12]. It is easier and more effective to study through the co-creation and progression. Then the material to study is also learned better. Especially, if such a material is permanently updated and the yesterday teachers at any moment, as the racial troubles in France of the end of 2005 testify, can turn into the today pupils.

The same can also be said for the mechanisms of control and monitoring, developed by the CE, which also can be regarded as its most valuable property. They must equally be applied to all the member-states, both old and new. The ?? is not a place for double standards. In its turn, the monitoring for the most critical problems and issues of the day of the democratic, institutional and the socioeconomic development could be some more reflected in the programs for the CE’s actions and the program for multilateral cooperation. Applied by the Council of Europe forms of monitoring for the fulfillment by the states of the engagements taken upon them and also those resulting from the membership in the Organization became out of date. They create a false idea of Europe of two or three speeds. There are too much parallelism, doubling, politicization and narrow specialization. It is necessary to make a decisive step towards the monitoring of rationalization, giving a coordinated and more technical character to it, and its subjection to the rule-making component part of the CE’s activity. In this context, it could be possible to revert to the examination for the initiative on the creation of a court of common law within the bounds of the CE, which was raised by the Czech Republic few years ago. It is not relevant for the Council of Europe in its current state. But the sudden activation of the rule-making activity of the CE, its change-over to the creation of the All-European legislation, the inventory and the subsequent codification and modernization for the CE’s conventions and resolutions, will make such a court to be in great demand.

The rule-making, in particular, should be developed into the excellent laboratory for the CE’s efforts of uniting with the other international structures. In this respect, both the complementariness and the stake on an optimal use of the advantages of each of them were relevant. If the CE could deal as a leader in the field of rule-making and forming the international standard for the behavior, it would be able to propose some new forms in the cooperation and the division of labor to their traditional partners – the UN, the OSCE, the NATO, the sub-regional organizations and scientific production associations. But, first of all – to the European Union… Theoretically, it would be very perspective, if Brussels and Strasbourg could start to develop the agenda together.

The Council of Europe unites almost all European countries, both the EU-members and the states not included in it. It easily could serve as a hearth where the private interests and ambitions could be floated, and the common interest would be approved. The Council has all the necessities for that, in deeds, not by words of mouth, to form the Big Europe with no discriminating lines. But for this purpose it must be resigned with much wider commission to create the single European legal, humanitarian, educational, cultural, social and economic space, as well as the space in the field of the internal security. The European countries could redesign it with their far-reaching commission to create the integral European space based on the freedoms common for everyone – the free movement of people, goods, stocks and services. It would be worth to think of how to support the CE, in its rule-making activity, with opportunities for the European Union’s public service. And such examples already have taken place. Such an approach would provide the EU and the other part of Europe with the opportunity to work together on the perspective normative acts of the All-European coverage and relevance.

Such rule-making fields, on which the CE and the EU should have concentrated all their efforts, have, to an increasingly greater extent, to move to the side of the questions of the internal security, the cooperation between the police and judicial bodies, the control upon migration, the entrance without visas, and the securing for the economic freedoms common for the Big Europe. It would be important to place the special emphasis on the drafting the legislation which could protect the private property and secure for the concordance of interests for the social state and the business community.

The decisions for readjustment in the CE’s institutional system are also imminent. For strengthening of the Council of Europe on the whole, there is, first of all, a need for its Parliamentary Assembly reinforcement. Strengthening the inter-Parliamentary structures is one of the main directions for the development of international relations and the deepening of the integration processes. The brightest example is given by the European Union, in the functioning of which the Euro-Parliament plays out an increasingly outstanding role. The question of the transfer to the deputies’ election on the basis of the direct and secret elections synchronized with the elections to the Euro-Parliament is early for the time being. But the delegation of the rule-making functions to the Assembly would be quite natural. The initiative should be recognized for the PACE. In particular, it should be empowered with the right for the introduction to the CMCE discussion or the joint discussion on the projects for the normative documents prepared by the Assembly or by its request. The PACE should be much widely integrated into the rule-making process. Moreover, the PACE must have enough resources at its disposal for supporting the intensive dialogue with the national parliaments. This is also dictated by time. The PACE proposals for widening its authorities in the rule-making, which found the reflection in its resolutions and recommendations, could be easily supported.

The work of Committee of Ministers of the CE must become much more open and transparent. Its agenda should be drawn up on the assumption that it could seem interesting and attractive for the world mass media. A completely different character must be given to the CMCE communication with them. The meetings between regional ministers must take place more often. It is advisable to introduce the certain decisions for their discussion. It is necessary that their work can be imparted with much more saturated character. The joint meetings between the ministries of the Council of Ministries of the EU and the regional ministries of the member-states of the CE should be introduced into practice. Such an innovation will secure for the synergetic effect, and spur on the cooperation and the integration processes on the continental scale.

The huge potential of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) is not used enough yet. Well, the Congress has shown itself as the effective conductor for the local government’s interests. It has turned into the forum on which the burning problems of the regional and local building are discussed. However, the CLRAE could give the regions and the municipalities a much larger coming out to the international cooperation. They are vitally concerned with the popularization of the progressive experience for management including the examples of the effective use of the state-private partnership and the concessions. They would like to develop the towns’ and regions-blood brothers’, as well as the other forms of the closer cooperation and the experience exchange, more actively. They need for the active help of the CLRAE hand for the attraction of the modern know-how, and getting and zealous use of the investments.

The dimensional reforms of the civic service, conducted by the previous Secretary General for the CE, did not make it more mobile. They also did not remove the financial press concerned with the various social repayments. It is necessary to solve the questions of social welfare and provision of pensions for the workers under the optimal scenario. But the main – it was necessary to make much more attractive and widespread in the CE the work on the short-term, medium-term and long-term contract, as well as to leave the perpetual hire and introduce an essential differentiation of the remuneration for the most trained and professional workers.

Summarizing all the mentioned proposals, one could say that Russia needs the CE’s renewal and its activity reorientation. It needs for the more professional and less politicized international organization aiming at the stimulation for the integration processes on the continental scale with a support for the use of jointly developed legal instruments, such organization which could meet its vision for the Big Europe.

The Warsaw Summit set the CE in motion. It supported a number of the perspective initiatives. In 2006, Russia is the President of the CE. All this creates some not bad prerequisites to allow Moscow for the proposal of its project of the Council of Europe and insisting on implementation.

Such scenario for the events development is quite possible. But for this purpose, it is necessary for Russia to change its policy in respect of the CE. It must become much more active, successive and benevolent to the Organization itself.


[1] As they say, in particular, in the Warsaw Declaration : “1. The Council of Europe will continue to implement its key task – to protect and to develop human rights, democracy and supremacy of law. All the CE’s activity must promote for this basic goal achievement”. Hereinafter, they quote by an unofficial translation of the Summit’s documents, which is located on the CE’s official Russian website – http://www.coe.int/t/dcr/summit/20050517_decl_varsovie_ru.asp ?toPrint=yes.

[2] In the preamble for the general plan of the Warsaw Declaration they placed the emphasis on the following : “The Summit will also secure for the political mandate for the Council of Europe and strengthen its contribution into the general stability and security as Europe is faced with the new challenges and menaces which require for the coordinated and effective answers. Now, we can concentrate upon such challenges… ”. They also say about them in P. 8 of the Declaration.

[3] The Warsaw Declaration looks especially energetic in this part. As they underline in it : “We are full of decision to achieve the complementary between the Council of Europe and the other organizations participated in building a democratic and secure Europe… ” (P. 10).

[4] See P.3 of the Warsaw Declaration.

[5] See P.4.

[6] See P.5.

[7] See P.6.

[8] See P.7.

[9] See P.9.

[10] The Plan of Actions is composed of five sections, in each of which the CE’s activity’s directions are divided into separate themes and subprograms, and the leading contractual tools and organizational structures are shown, which the CE is intended to be guided by. Their titles are self-explanatory : I – Assistance to the common basic values such as human rights, supremacy of law and democracy ; II – Enhancement in the European citizens’ security ; III – Building of the more human and open Europe ; IV – Enhancement in cooperation with other international European organizations and institutions ; V – Implementation of the Plan of Actions : the transparent and effective Council of Europe. See – http://www.coe.int/t/dcr/summit/20050517_decl_varsovie_ru.asp ?toPrint=yes.

[11] The first three out of the mentioned certain measures are included in the Warsaw Declaration and then also mentioned in the Plan of Actions. The two other measures are mentioned in the Plan of Actions only.

[12] A good example is provided by the Venetian Commission, the expertise of which is of an open and public character, as well as the load distribution among the people responsible for the expertise and the discussions of the obtained results at the plenary meetings with the participation of the interested parties’ representatives.

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