The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe ( French : the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers ) gold Commonly the Committee of Ministers ( French : the Committee of Ministers ) is the Council of Europe ’s decision-making body. It includes the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the member states, or their permanent diplomatic representatives in Strasbourg . It is both a governmental body, where national approaches to problems, and European collective forums, where Europe- wide responses to such challenges are formulated. In collaboration with theParliamentary Assembly , it is the guardian of the Council’s fundamental values, and monitors member states‘ compliance with their undertakings.
Members of the Committee of Ministers
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe is a member of the Committee of Ministers. In May 1951 the Committee of Ministers is a member of the Permanent Representative who would be in constant touch with the organization. All Permanent Representatives reside in Strasbourg . They are usually senior diplomats with ambassadorial rank, sometimes charged with business.
In 1952 the Committee of Ministers decided to appoint a Deputy. The Ministers‘ Deputies have the same decision-making powers as the Ministers. A Deputy is also a Permanent Representative of the State Member.
The Deputy Permanent Representative, not to be confused with „Ministers‘ Deputy“.
Meetings of the Committee of Ministers
The Committee meets the ministerial level of the year, in May or in November. The meetings, known as „sessions“, are normally held in Strasbourg and usually last one full day or two half days. While the greater part of each session is usually devoted to political dialogue, the Ministers may discuss all matters of mutual interest with the exception of national defense. Although the records of the sessions are confidential, a final release is issued at the end of each meeting. The Ministers may also issue one or more declarations.
„Meetings of the Ministers ‚Deputies“ are usually held in the Committee of Ministers‘ meeting room once a week. The Deputies also meet several times in a week in subsidiary groups.
The role of the Committee of Ministers
The Committee of Ministers performs a triple role; as the emanation of the governments which provides them with their national approaches to the problems of Europe’s societies; The European Assembly of the Council of Europeand the European Council of Europe.
The work and activities of the Committee of Ministers include political dialogue, Developing international public law through Council of Europe conventions, interacting with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe , interacting with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
Admitting new member States
The Committee of Ministers has the authority to invite European States to become members of the Council of Europe (Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the Statute). It can also suspend or terminate membership.
The process of admission to membership of the Committee of Ministers, under the Statute of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (under Statutory Resolution (51) 30). The Assembly adopts an opinion which is published in the Assembly’s texts adopted.
If the Committee decides that a state can be admitted, it adopts a resolution inviting that state to become a member. The invitation specifies the number of seats that the state will have in the Assembly as well as its contribution to the budget. Recently the invitations have included a number of conditions concerning the implementation of democratic reforms in the applicant state.
Once invited by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, an instrument of accession by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe .
The only remaining members of the Council of Europe may be admitted to Belarus , Kazakhstan and the Vatican as well as Kosovo, pending clarification of its international legal status. Once the European Union has attained full legal personality , it could also accede to the Council of Europe. So far, the European Community has only signed Council of Europe treaties.
Monitoring respect of commitments by member states
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Concluding Conventions and Agreements
Article 15.a of the Statute states that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe „shall consider the action required to further the Council of Europe , including the conclusion of conventions and agreements“.
Over 190 treaties have been opened for signature. The European Convention on Human Rights is one of the best known European Council of Europe treaties and the one with the strongest supervision mechanism by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Committee of Ministers.
The text of any treaty is finalized when it is adopted by the Committee. Under Article 20 of the Statute adoption of a treaty requires:
- a two-thirds majority of the representatives casting a vote;
- a majority of those entitled to vote.
The same majorities are required to authorize the publication of any explanatory report. The Committee also fixes the date that the treaty will be opened for signature. Conventions are legally binding for those States which ratify them.
Adopting recommendations to member states
Article 15.b of the Statute provides for the Committee of Ministers to make recommendations to member states on which the Committee has agreed a common policy.
Under Article 20 of the Statute, the adoption of a recommendation requires a unanimous vote of all representatives present and a majority of those entitled to vote.
However, at their 519 bis meeting (November 1994) the Ministers‘ Deputies decided to make their voting procedure more flexible and made a „Gentleman’s agreement“ not to apply the unanimity rule to recommendations. Recommendations are not binding on member States.
Since 1993 the Committee has also adopted recommendations in the implementation of the European Social Charter (Article 29 of the Social Charter). Recommendations adopted before 1979 were issued in the „Resolutions“ series of texts adopted.
The Statute permits the Committee of Ministers to put in place the provisions of Article 15 (b). In 1987, at their 405th meeting, the Ministers‘ Deputies adopted a message to the intergovernmental committees (steering committees and committees of experts), urging them to improve their monitoring of the implementation of recommendations and resolutions.
Adopting the budget
Under Article 38.c of the Statute of the Secretary General is required to prepare a draft budget each year and submit it to the Committee of Ministers for adoption. The draft budget is presented to the Deputies in November of each year. It is adopted, along with the Program of Activities, in the form of resolutions. Under Article 29 of the Financial Regulations (Revised in May 1997) The Deputies are Assisted by a Budget Committee composed of eleven independent experts, appointed by the Committee of Ministers acting on proposals from governments. An abridged version of the budget is available in electronic form.
In 2006 the Committee of Ministers launched the „Council of Europe Communication Strategy“, the first time that the Council of Europe has had a proper communication policy.
Adopting and monitoring the Program of Activities
Since 1966 the Council of Europe has organized, planned and budgeted its activities according to an annual work program, published as „Intergovernmental Program of Activities“. The Deputies adopt the program towards the end of each year and are entrusted with overseeing its implementation. Article 17 of the Statute of the Committee of Ministers to set up „advisory or technical committees“. This committee is one of the leading expert committees, which assists the Committee of Ministers in the implementation of the program of activities.
Implementing cooperation and assistance programs
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Supervising the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
In accordance with Article 46 of the Convention as amended by Protocol No. 11, the Committee of Ministers supervises the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights . This work is conducted every four months (DH / HR meetings) every year. Documentation for these meetings takes the form of the Annotated Agenda and Order of Business. These documents are made public, as are, in general, the decisions taken in each case. The Committee of Ministers is a member of the European Court of Human Rights. The Committee completes each case by adopting a final resolution. In some cases, interim resolutions may prove appropriate. Both kinds of Resolutions are public.