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Working Document
21st Quadripartite Meeting Council of Europe - European Union: Concluding Statement

Date of release : 16-03-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : Quadripartite Meeting EU-Council of Europe

The 21st Quadripartite Meeting between  the Council of Europe and the European Union was held in Brussels on 16 March 2005 at the invitation of the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union.

The participants were for the European Union:

- Mr Jean Asselborn,  Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, President of the Council of the European Union

- Javier Solana, High Representative for the CFSP and Secretary General of the Council

- Ms Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Member of the European Commission,

and for the Council of Europe:

- Mr Jan Truszczyński, Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs of Poland and Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,

- Mr Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Third Council of Europe Summit of Heads of Sttae and Government

The participants welcomed the progress of preparations for the Third Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government (political declaration and action plan) and expressed the wish that the Summit confirm the role and mission of the Council of Europe with a strong message concerning the relevance of the values shared by all European democracies.  They stressed the key role of multilateralism as a means of solving the major problems of our time and the specific contribution the Council of Europe could make – through its role in the areas of standard-setting, monitoring, awareness-raising and assistance to member states – as part of a concerted effort to strengthen the unity of the European continent and avoid further dividing lines.

This joint effort should also be reflected in greater complementarity between the various European institutions and organisations, and particularly in stronger co-operation based on cross-partnerships (EU-Council of Europe, EU-OSCE, Council of Europe-OSCE).  This would help to strengthen the Council of Europe’s position as a key partner in the new European institutional set-up.

In this connection, the participants welcomed the concrete proposal put forward by the European Union with regard to arrangements for future co-operation between the two institutions characterised by partnership and complementarity.  They were willing to devote tangible means to strengthening coherence between the Council of Europe conventions and the European Union’s legal acquis and enabling the EU to make full use of the Council of Europe’s expertise in fields where it presents an added value.  Lastly, the participants supported the European Union’s proposal for a review of consultation and co-operation mechanisms at all levels, including political, in order to strengthen them and guide and manage the prospective consolidated relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe more effectively.  It was desirable, moreover, that a memorandum of understanding be drawn up on this basis to define, in concrete terms, arrangements for enhanced co-operation and political dialogue between the two institutions.

Strengthening Co-operation

The participants welcomed the recent appointment of a Commission representative to the Council of Europe. The Presidency of the Council of the European Union as well as the representatives of the Council of Europe encouraged the creation of a permanent post of Commission representative. For its part, the Council of Europe stressed that greater involvement through its Brussels Liaison Office in the European Union’s working bodies would help to strengthen co-operation between the two institutions.

European Union’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights

The parties undertook to begin, as soon as possible, work on technical arrangements for the European Union’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights so that the Union could accede to the Convention as soon as the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union came into force.  They stressed the importance of this parallel approach as a means of ensuring consistency in the field of human rights in Europe.

New European Union agencies

In the same spirit, the participants stressed the importance of complementarity and co-operation in connection with the prospective Human Rights Agency and welcomed the fact that this was a likely prospect.  They also urged that similar provision be made for complementarity and co-operation in connection with the plans for a Linguistic Diversity Agency and an Institute for Gender Equality.

Action Plans and Joint Programmes

The European Union provided information about the forthcoming implementation of Action Plans already adopted as part of European neighbourhood policy and drew attention to the reports which the Commission had recently adopted, particularly on the countries of the South Caucasus.  The Council of Europe underlined the activities of the Venice Commission in the region, in particular its recommendations in the legal field. The Council of Europe stressed that, apart from Belarus, all the European countries concerned by this policy were members of the Council of Europe.  This would provide further opportunities for the European Union and the Council of Europe to pool their efforts.  A new joint programme for the region could cover, in particular, human rights training for prosecutors, judges and the police, the efficiency of the judicial system, the institution of Ombudsman, corruption and economic crime, and the development of regional and local democracy.

With regard to Ukraine, the participants welcomed the country’s renewed democratic resolve, which deserved co-ordinated joint support.  New possibilities for co-operation in this connection would be discussed with the Ukrainian authorities at the meeting of the Council of Europe and European Commission Steering Committee scheduled to take place in Kyiv on 17 and 18 March 2005, which should lead to a new joint programme based on common objectives, as set out in the Action Plan adopted by the EU and the Council of Europe’s proposals for co-operation.

The participants also referred to new joint projects in South-East Europe and mentioned joint programmes that had existed since 1996 in the Russian Federation.  In this connection, the Council of Europe provided information about the co-operation programme in the Chechen Republic, drawn up in conjunction with the Chechen President and the Russian Federal Ombudsman, which covered, in particular, the protection of human rights, training, social rehabilitation and the strengthening of democratic institutions and civil society.

Topical Issues


The participants took note of the preliminary conclusions of the electoral observation mission (EOM) concerning the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova on 6 March 2005.  They stressed that overall the elections had taken place with due regard for most of the criteria of the OSCE and the Council of Europe and other international standards concerning elections, despite an imperfect  campaign and limited access to the media.  They welcomed the determination of the population of Moldova to be part of a democratic Europe and encouraged the majority and the opposition to make every effort to consolidate, and ensure the stability of, the democratic institutions in the country. The Council of Europe gave information on the forthcoming visit of the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Minister A. Rotfeld, to Moldova, with a view to strengthening co-operation in the legal field.

The participants expressed concern about the situation in Transnistria, particularly the human rights violations.  They called on all the parties concerned to endeavour to solve the conflict.  The European Union confirmed that it was maintaining its travel ban on members of the Transnistrian leadership team and the persons responsible for closing down schools teaching in Latin script last summer.

The participants expressed their readiness to continue to co-operate with Moldova in connection with the reinforcement of the European Union’s presence (opening of a Commission’s delegation and agreement to appoint a EU Special Representative) and in conjunction with the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in order to contribute to efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict, in keeping with Council of Europe’s commitments.

South Caucasus

The participants pointed out that the region had held, and was to hold, important elections (parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan and constitutional referendum in Armenia).  They called on these countries to show determination in pressing ahead with all the reforms designed to make for free and fair elections in conformity with European standards, in particular in the media field.

The participants supported the willingness of the new generation of leaders in Georgia to continue with reform and to firmly embody existing and prospective democratic achievements in democratic institutions and the rule of law.  They also encouraged further efforts to achieve solutions for South Ossetia and Abkhazia with due respect for Georgia’s territorial integrity, democracy and universal human rights.

Serbia and Montenegro

The participants underlined the importance of the Constitutional Charter of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro to enable the country to become more fully integrated in Europe.  They stressed, in particular, that the two Republics, Serbia and Montenegro, should each rapidly endow themselves with a modern, democratic constitution based on the highest European standards.

With regard to Kosovo, the Council of Europe recalled its involvement alongside UNMIK in the decentralisation process, and particularly the management of pilot projects.  The EU and the Council of Europe would continue to co-operate closely with UNMIK and the PISGs to rebuild damaged and destroyed cultural sites.    Effective human rights protection remained a priority for the Council of Europe, which had already made arrangements with UNMIK to make use of the supervisory machinery of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Convention for the Prevention of Torture.

Other business

Remembering the terrorist attacks in Madrid and Beslan in 2004, the participants confirmed their willingness to develop the fight against the scourge of terrorism with all instruments at their disposal, in the framework of their institutions, in the respect for human rights.

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This page was last modified on : 17-03-2005

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