Programmatic Cooperation Framework
for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus
Working together to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law
In April 2014, the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE) agreed in a Statement of Intent that targeted cooperation activities with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus - the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries - would be implemented under a ‘Programmatic Cooperation Framework’ (PCF).
These cooperation activities will strengthen the capacity of Eastern Partnership countries, which are member States of the Council of Europe with the exception of Belarus; to implement domestic reforms to bring them closer to the standards of the Council of Europe and the European Union in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The PCF will be implemented in two phases: 2015‑2017 and 2018-2020. A mid-term evaluation will take place in 2017 and a final evaluation in 2020. The budget for the first implementation phase (2015-2017) is €33.8 million. The PCF is funded 90% by the European Union and 10% by the Council of Europe. It is implemented by the Council of Europe.
Five priority areas (or themes) of cooperation were identified with the European Union for the PCF. Under these five themes there are 15 sub-themes which lead to 50 country-specific and regional actions.
Protection and promotion of human rights
- strengthening the implementation of European Human Rights standards at regional and national level
- protecting national and ethnic minorities' rights
- promoting equality and human dignity
- promoting human rights education and democratic citizenship
- strengthening the independence and efficiency of justice
- strengthening constitutional justice
- promoting penitentiary reforms (from a punitive to a rehabilitative approach)
Combating threats to the rule of law
- fight against corruption and fostering good governance/fight against money-laundering
- criminal justice action on cyber crime
Addressing challenges of the information society
- improve freedom, independence, pluralism and diversity of media
- information society and Internet governance
- enhance the right to data protection
Promoting democratic governance
- electoral assistance: reforming electoral legislation and practice
- strengthening institutional frameworks for local governance
The PCF activities will provide extensive and substantial expertise on strengthening the capacity of Eastern Partnership countries’ institutions to implement domestic reforms and to bring them closer to the Council of Europe standards in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This will be done through a variety of activities: conferences, seminars, working groups, networking, analytical reports and training sessions led by Council of Europe staff and international experts.
The actors involved are national stakeholders who play a decisive role in the implementation of reforms: parliaments, governmental bodies at all levels (ministries responsible for justice, finance, interior, health, education, labour and social protection, and public administration), public institutions in the relevant areas such as anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, public prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, penitentiary administrations, central and local electoral commissions, ombudspersons, the judicial community, judicial self-governing bodies, legal professionals, the media, local and regional authorities, non-governmental organisations, academia as well as the general public.