Ministers' Deputies
    CM Documents

    CM(2004)179 2 November 2004
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    902 Meeting, 3 November 2004
    6 Social Cohesion


    6.1 European Roma and Travellers Forum – Final Activity Report


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    1. On 24 January 2001, the President of Finland, Ms Tarja Halonen, in a speech before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe proposed that “serious consideration be given to a need to create for the Roma some kind of consultative assembly to represent them on the pan-European level”. This was a first initiative aiming at providing the Roma population with a voice and with the possibility of participating in decision-making processes at the European level.

    2. As a result of the wide interest and encouraging support the Finnish proposal received from the Parliamentary Assembly and as a result of the dedicated work of representatives of Romany communities, the Finnish Government seized the Committee of Ministers with its proposal. At its 111th Session on 6-7 November 2002, the Committee of Ministers “noted with interest the Finnish initiative concerning a “European Forum for Roma” and invited their Deputies to continue considering this issue, bearing in mind its topical nature, with a view to determine suitable follow-up”.

    3. The Deputies instructed the Rapporteur Group on Social and Health Questions (GR-SOC) to “continue its work relating to the Finnish initiative concerning a “European Forum for Roma” bearing in mind its topical nature, and to submit proposals to them concerning suitable follow-up to be given to that initiative” (816th meeting, 13 November 2002, item 1.5).

    4. On 8 January 2003, the Rapporteur Group on Social Cohesion and Health (GR-SOC) decided to set up an ad-hoc open-ended working party with the task of examining the question of a possible forum for Roma and Travellers (GT-ROMS). It was given specific terms of reference (see Appendix I) and was asked to examine in particular a list of issues (see Appendix II).

    5. The Working Party held eight meetings in 20031 and eight meetings in 2004.2

    6. With respect to the organisation of its work, the Working Party agreed to start with a fact-finding phase and with looking into the question of the compatibility of the initiative with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (see Appendix I). It also agreed that it was important that the fact-finding phase would not be too long, in order that the Working Party could start looking into the concrete issues as soon as possible. It would then consider how to regroup these issues, which were basically those contained in the list of issues elaborated by the GR-SOC. It was stressed that other items could be added to this list as the work progressed.

    7. The Working Party agreed on the usefulness of organising hearings, not least in the first fact-finding phase. The purpose being inter alia to collect information on the activities carried out by other international organisations, including non-governmental organisations, and elsewhere in the Council of Europe. In this context, several delegations underlined the need to work in close contact with the Parliamentary Assembly and with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. Other Council of Europe bodies, such as the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the MG-S-ROM should also be closely associated with the work through hearings or in another manner. Finally, the Working Party agreed that there was a need for close and regular contacts with the European Union and the OSCE.

    Observers

    8. Mr Nicolae Gheorghe, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR),
    Mrs. Catherine Magnant, representing the General Directorate for External Relations of the European Commission, Mr Andrzej Mirga, Chairman of the Council of Europe Specialist Group on Roma, Gypsies and Travellers (MG-S-ROM), Mr Nezdet Mustapha, common spokesman of various Roma and Traveller organisations and members of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe bodies that had been invited for exchanges with the Working Party, were regularly invited as observers in its meetings.

    I. Appropriateness and compatibility of the proposals with the principle of non-discrimination as contained in Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights

    9. The question of the compatibility of a Forum with the principle of non-discrimination contained in Article 14 of the Convention had been singled out in the terms of reference as one of the issues the Working Party had to examine with priority. The Working Party concluded the discussion on this item with the understanding that the creation of a body with consultative status was at issue. There was no direct link to the question of national minorities, an issue in respect of which the Working Party was aware that different governments had different interpretations.

    II. Existing structures for Roma /Traveller participation in Europe

    10. In order to assist the GT-ROMS in obtaining the relevant information on Roma/Traveller participation at the national level, the Secretariat sent a questionnaire to permanent representations. The Working Party examined the document elaborated by the Secretariat on the basis of the 25 replies received at a special meeting and concluded that the exercise had shown that situations differed considerably between member states as to which structures for Roma/Traveller participation existed. The Working Party considered that this document would be useful in the future as a background document.

    III. Hearings

    International organisations and structures

    11 As part of its work of establishing the background to the exercise, the Working Party examined the activities of other international organisations and structures currently working on Roma/Traveller issues. It heard their views on the establishment of a Forum for Roma and Travellers and on their possibilities of co-operation with such a body. In this context the Working Party held exchanges of views with:

    - Ambassador Liviu Bota, Chair of the OSCE working group for the Action Plan for Roma population;
    - Mr Steven Wagenseil, Deputy Director for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);
    - Mr Nicolae Gheorghe, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR);
    - Mrs Catherine Magnant, representing the General Directorate for External Relations of the European Commission.

    12. The idea of a Forum was welcomed by the invited guests. They considered that there would be an added value in creating such a body, which would give the Roma/Travellers a voice and they could see possibilities for co-operation and working relations with this body.3

    Council of Europe bodies

    13. The Working Party also listened to the views of representatives of Council of Europe bodies and examined the possibilities for co-operation between them and a Forum and the use they may have of a Forum. They were:

    - Mr Rainer Hoffmann, President of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;
    - Mr Michael Head, Chair of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
    - Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, Human Rights Commissioner;
    - Mr Andrzej Mirga, Chairman of the Council of Europe Specialist Group on Roma, Gypsies and Travellers (MG-S-ROM);
    - Mrs Danielle Coin, Head of the Secretariat of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly;
    - Mr Alessandro MANCINI, Secretary to the Social Cohesion Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.

    14. Also these bodies were positive to the idea of a consultative Forum for Roma and Travellers and considered inter alia that it could be useful for them to have an input from the Roma and Travellers in their activities. They stressed the seriousness of the situation of the Roma and Travellers, who face the same problems of discrimination and social exclusion in a number of countries. The need to ensure that such a Forum is representative was also underlined. The Commissioner for Human Rights stressed the urgency of establishing the body.4

    Roma and Traveller organisations

    15. On a couple of occasions, the Working Party has met with representatives of a number of Roma and Traveller organisations to hear their views on the establishment of a Forum and on the French/Finnish contribution (see Chapter IV). It was made clear during these exchanges that the Roma/Traveller community was eager to see a Forum being established as soon as possible and that they were in agreement with the idea of setting it up in the form of an association. Various opinions and proposals were made as to the details how this could be done.5

    16. In addition, the Working Party had a continuous dialogue with the Roma/Traveller community through its observer Mr Nezdet Mustapha, common spokesman of various Roma and Traveller organisations.

    Exploratory Group

    17. The Working Party also met with Mr Gunnar Jansson, Chair of the informal Exploratory Group, and Mr Nezdet Mustapha, who had been a member of that Group.6

    IV. French/Finnish proposal for a European Forum for Roma and Travellers

    18. In July 2003, France and Finland made a common contribution for the GT-ROMS consideration (see Appendix III). These two countries considered that although the need to promote the participation of Roma and Travellers was recognised, discussions had shown that some delegations were hesitant regarding the establishment of a forum, raising in particular the question that it might entail minority definitions that were incompatible with their legislation. They had therefore worked together to find a model that could be acceptable to all governments of the Council of Europe and by Roma and Travellers. The model thus proposed was based on an independent consultative, international association, which would have regular co-operation and working relations with the Council of Europe.

19. Among the main considerations of Finland and France were to achieve a balanced and representative composition of the Forum. It was important to implement geographical and gender balance, in order to have a truly representative and truly European Forum. Their proposal presented a general outline of how the Forum could be construed. The more precise solutions, for example as regards the issue of representativity, would need to be identified through an in-depth discussion in the Working Party.

20. The Working Party adopted as its working hypothesis the proposal made by France and Finland that the task of representing the Roma/Traveller populations would be confided to a body, which although autonomous from an organisational point of view from the Council of Europe's intergovernmental structures, would still functionally be associated to it on the basis of a partnership agreement. The conclusion of this agreement would be made conditional on the conclusion of a wider agreement on the general principles to be respected by the Forum, in relation to issues such as representativity, transparency and democracy. According to the proposal, the principal aim as regards the policy with respect to Roma and Travellers remained their integration among the local populations and the fight against all forms of discrimination. The Forum would not aim to replace national and local policies, but to complement them and make them more efficient.

21. In the discussion that followed a large number of delegations expressed their interest in or support of the French/Finnish contribution. They considered it to be a step forward and a good basis for the Working Party's continued work. Several delegations expressed their support for setting up the Forum in the form of an association rather than to create a body within the Council of Europe. They stressed the importance of a Forum that would be a true expression of the wishes of the Roma and Travellers. For this purpose they considered that in particular the issue of representativity needed to be studied carefully.

22. Roma and Traveller organisations also supported the idea of establishing the Forum in the form of an association, stressing the importance of the independence of the body.

23. As a consequence, in its subsequent meetings, the Working Party concentrated on examining the French/Finnish proposal in detail. It considered inter alia what kind of guidelines should be given to the Roma and Travellers for establishing an association and what a partnership agreement could look like. With the purpose of looking into what guidelines could be given to the association, the aims, functions and composition of the Forum were discussed. The most difficult discussions concerned the composition of the Forum, an issue that was discussed in several consecutive meetings.

V. Conclusions reached by the Working Group by January 2004

    24. The Working Party has reported the following conclusions to the GR-SOC in January 2004:

    - there is presently no existing structure that could give voice to Roma/Travellers at the European level. There seems to be an added value in creating a consultative forum for Roma and Travellers at the European level;

    - the Forum should have consultative status;

    - there is a broad support for continuing discussions on a possible Forum on the basis of the French/Finnish initiative;

    - the Committee of Ministers would agree on guidelines to be given to the Roma/Travellers for establishing an association;

    - the European Roma and Travellers Forum would be established by the Roma/Travellers as an independent international association in accordance with the legislation applicable in France;

    - the organisation would conclude a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe.

25. The GR-SOC welcomed the results and invited the Working Party to continue its work along the lines indicated in the report.

    VI. Final stages of the work

    26. In spring 2004, the Working Party continued the elaboration and discussion of the texts that it had identified as necessary for the establishment of the Forum, ie the draft guidelines and the draft partnership agreement. It examined the draft statutes for the Forum elaborated by a number of Roma and Traveller representatives meeting in Strasbourg for this purpose7. The Working Party held a continuous dialogue with the Roma and Travellers community on these texts.

    27. The Ministers' Deputies adopted a progress report on the possible creation of a forum for Roma and Travellers (GT-ROMS) for the attention of the Ministers meeting in Strasbourg on the occasion of the 114th Ministerial Session (12-13 May 2004) (CM(2004)78). In their Communiqué, the Ministers welcomed “the significant progress made with respect to the Finnish initiative, put forward as a proposal by Finland and France, concerning a European Forum for Roma and Travellers, which would take the form of an NGO. They invited their Deputies to continue their work.”

    28. The GT-ROMS started to finalise the guidelines and the partnership agreement. It also discussed the financing of the Forum. At the request of a number of delegations, this issue was examined by the Rapporteur Group on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (GR-AB) on 17 June and 16 September 2004. GR-AB examined the financing on the basis of a document on the budgetary implications of the creation of a European Forum for Roma and Travellers (GT-ROMS(2004)4 revised 2). The GR-AB referred the item back to GT-ROMS with a number of comments and recommendations.8

    29. At its meeting on 23 September 2004, the Working Party reached an agreement on the financing of the Forum. It agreed that:

    - the Council of Europe's contribution to the Forum shall be decided on an annual basis;

    - the Council of Europe contribution in terms of staff, accommodation and use of meeting rooms shall be treated as a contribution in kind, in addition to the €200 000. The latter amount shall be treated as a grant towards the cost of the Forum activities set out in the table (see Appendix VII). The costs indicated for these activities are estimates only, and should actual costs exceed the estimates the excess shall be covered by the Forum's own resources (document GT-ROMS(2004)4 revised2, financing option 1);

    - the Forum shall be encouraged to actively seek financing from other sources;

    - the principle of a Council of Europe contribution to the Forum shall be reviewed every three years.

    30. These conclusions are reflected in the draft guidelines and in the draft partnership agreement contained respectively in Appendices IV and VI to this report.

    VII. Recommendations made by the Working Group

    31. In its final activity report (document GT-ROMS(2004)9rev), the Working Party agreed to make the following recommendations to the GR-SOC:

    - to agree on the guidelines for the establishment of the European Roma and Travellers Forum as contained in Appendix IV to this report;

    - to take note of the present version of the Statute as contained in Appendix V to this report;

    - to agree on the contents of the partnership agreement between the Council of Europe and the European Roma and Travellers Forum as contained in Appendix VI to this report;

    - to recommend to the Ministers' Deputies to authorise the Secretary General to sign the partnership agreement between the Council of Europe and the European Roma and Travellers Forum as contained in Appendix VI to this report;

    - to recommend to the Ministers' Deputies to encourage their Rapporteur Groups to invite a representative of the Forum to their meetings as an observer whenever engaging in a debate of particular concern to the Roma and Travellers;

    - to recommend to the Deputies to invite the European Roma and Travellers Forum to send a representative as an observer to the meetings of the Steering Committees enumerated in Appendix VI (appendix, point I 1-9) to this report;

    - to propose to the Deputies to unfreeze the budget appropriations for 2004 for the use of the Forum [Sub-head 3900- 600 4933 Provision for the European Roma and Travellers Forum].

    32. These recommendations were approved by the GR-SOC on 2 November 2004. Consequently, the GR-SOC recommends to the Deputies the adoption of the decisions contained in Appendix VIII to this report.

    Appendix I

    Terms of reference for the working group charged with studying the question of a possible Forum for Roma and Travellers (GT-ROMS)

    As adopted by GR-SOC on 20 January 2003

    1. The working party shall examine the proposals concerning a European Forum for Roma9 as well as all related issues, in particular those contained in the provisional, non-exhaustive list of issues (document GR-SOC(2003)2 revised 2), in a systematic and structured manner.

    As a preliminary question, it shall, in particular, examine whether the proposals are appropriate and compatible with the principle of non-discrimination as contained in Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    2. In carrying out its work, the working party shall seek information about the relevant activities on Roma carried out in the Council of Europe, in the member states and in other international organisations. It shall take account of the opinions with respect to the proposals made on the Forum for Roma by the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies and other bodies interested in the subject. It shall also endeavour to obtain contributions from member states, international bodies and experts on the subject. For this purpose it may organise hearings.

    3. The working party shall regularly report back to the GR-SOC, which may issue more precise instructions as the work progresses.

    4. At the end of its work, the working party shall submit a report to the GR-SOC containing a global
    analysis of the proposals relating to the situation of the Roma, including the creation of a Forum for Roma.

    Appendix II

    Provisional and non-exhaustive list of issues for discussion by a working party on the possible setting up of a Forum for Roma and Travellers
     

    1. Existing structures for Roma participation in Europe

    2. Functions of the Forum (in a consultative capacity)

    - the competences of such a Forum(;

    - provide, alongside member states((, an international interlocutor for member states on Roma issues;

    - provide a channel of communication with the organs and sectors of the Council of Europe;

    - provide an input to the work of various Council of Europe bodies dealing with related issues;

    - sensitise the Roma populations to the importance of the democratic process, a state governed by the rule of law and the values promoted by the Council of Europe**;

    - draw attention of international organs and bodies to events and situations affecting Roma;

    - improve human rights monitoring and standard–setting;

    - issue recommendations and guidelines;

    - assist in building institutional capacity for civil society activity of the Roma.

    3. Structure of the Forum

    - plenary forum, executive body, working commissions.

    4. Composition of the Forum

    - size, method of representation – geographic, demographic – in the various structures (election, selection procedure);

    - how to conceive a true representativity of such a Forum and the means to be employed in order to achieve it*.

    5. Working methods of the Forum

    - duration and regularity of meetings, rules of procedure.

    6. Links with the Council of Europe, with member states** and with external bodies

    - nature of relationship with the Council of Europe organs (participation, hearing, representation) in correlation with other European initiatives in the field of the protection of Roma, in order to avoid parallelism and dispersion of the financial efforts**;

    - relations with member states*;

    - possible links with external bodies.

    7. Legal status of the Forum

    - Council of Europe body, autonomous body with consultative status.

    8. Financing the Forum

    - the budget necessary for the functioning of such a forum and how to finance it(;

    - ordinary budget of the Council of Europe, voluntary contributions by member states, financing through independent sources.

    9. Other Issues***

    - all other issues of relevance***;

    - the permanent duration or not of such a forum*;

    - whether the idea behind the initiative is compatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights****.

    Appendix III

    Joint French and Finnish contribution on the European Forum of Roma and Travellers

    In accordance with its terms of reference, the Working Party GT-ROMS has studied the possibility of setting up a European Forum for Roma and Travellers. On the basis of the Working Party's discussions, Finland and France agreed to submit jointly the following outline for a Forum to the GT-ROMS for consideration.

    The Council of Europe is aware that it would be expedient to have a consultative body able to provide a coherent framework for Roma and Travellers to express their opinion on subjects affecting them in Europe. The Council of Europe is ready to co-operate with an independent Forum representing Roma and Travellers, founded on the principles of democracy and equality that it upholds.

    Assuming that the Roma and Travellers establish an international association fulfilling these criteria, the Council of Europe would be prepared to consider arrangements for co-operation with the proposed association. These arrangements would be formalised by a partnership agreement binding the Council of Europe and the association. The agreement would specify the procedures for consulting the Forum, and the support provided by the Council of Europe.

    The association “European Forum for Roma and Travellers” should be established on the following foundations:

    CONSTITUTION, TITLE AND RULES

    The European Forum for Roma and Travellers (hereinafter “the association”) would be established in the form of an international association.

    The association's statutory office would be in Strasbourg, France.

    The working languages would be Romany, English and French.

    AIMS

    The aim of the association would be to secure the effective exercise by Roma and Travellers of their rights and fundamental freedoms, to prevent racism and discrimination, and to further their integration in the countries where they are located. For this purpose, the association should promote the implementation of local initiatives, primarily with regard to housing, health, education and employment.

    The association could deliver opinions and make proposals to decision-making bodies in Europe at international, national, regional or local level in order to influence decision-making processes likely to affect Roma and Travellers whether directly or indirectly.

    MEMBERS

    The association would be made up of delegates representing the populations of Roma and Travellers in Europe. Its composition should comply with the principles of geographical and gender balance. Delegates' terms of office would be limited to allow their regular renewal.

    The Forum would be made up of the following members:

    - N delegates appointed by the Roma National Congress;
    - N delegates appointed by the International Romany Union;
    - N delegates appointed by the European religious denominations and/or tribes of Roma;
    - N other delegates appointed by the other Roma and Traveller institutions.

    ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANS

    The association would have the following organs:

    - a Plenary Assembly;
    - an Executive Committee.

    FINANCE

    The association's resources would consist of the subsidies awarded by the Council of Europe or other international organisations, voluntary contributions from the member states and any other private or public source intended to further the association's aims in general or a specific purpose not contrary to the association's code of ethics.

    It is intended to provide for an annual contribution from the Council of Europe which would cover the bulk of the Forum's running expenses.

    RELATIONS WITH THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

    Relations between the Forum and the Council of Europe would be formalised by an agreement of association whereby the Council would undertake to use the Forum as a consultative body while providing it with the practical means enabling it to perform this role.

    The Council of Europe's approval of the agreement, which would be subject to the Forum's compliance with broad guidelines concerning its manner of constitution (proper representation) and the principles of its functioning (transparency and democracy), could take the form of a document signed by the Secretary General on behalf of the Council of Europe and the presiding officer of the Forum's Executive Committee.

    The terms of the partnership agreement should be negotiated in the context of the GT-ROMS. Formal permission to sign it should not be granted by the Committee of Ministers to the Secretary General until the Forum has actually been constituted.

    The Plenary Assembly of the Forum would approve the terms of the agreement.

    The partnership agreement should contain the following elements:

    - amount of the proposed annual financial contribution to the Forum from the Council of Europe;
    - arrangements for the Council of Europe to contribute to the operation of the Forum (making premises or staff available) ;
    - conditions governing the participation of the Forum's representatives in Council of Europe activities relating to Roma and Travellers (list of the committees and bodies concerned).

    The agreement should respect the independence and autonomy of the association.

    Appendix IV

    Draft guidelines for the establishment of the European Roma and Travellers Forum

    The member states of the Council of Europe, conscious of the particular situation and the vulnerability of the Roma and Traveller population in Europe, have decided to draw up these guidelines concerning the establishment by the Roma and Travellers of a consultative Forum to further their interests. The Forum would enjoy special relations with the Organisation should it be created in accordance with the guidelines.

    Constitution, title and members

    The European Forum for Roma and Travellers (hereinafter “Forum”) shall be established in the form of an international association, a non-profit-making legal entity governed by the legislation in force in France. The Forum shall have its seat in Strasbourg, France. The working languages shall be English, French and Romani.

    The members of the Forum shall be international, transnational/subregional and national NGOs or other existing national structures for Roma and Traveller participation, where appropriate.

    Aims

    The aim of the Forum would be to oversee the effective exercise by Roma and Travellers of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as protected by the legal instruments of the Council of Europe as well as by other relevant international legal instruments. It shall promote the fight against racism and discrimination and facilitate the integration of these population groups into the European societies and their participation in public life.

    For this purpose, the Forum shall propose, in order to contribute to the improvement of the conditions of the said populations, the implementation of initiatives at the most adequate levels, primarily with regard to housing, health, education and employment. It shall propose measures to combat any discrimination that Roma and Travellers may meet in relation to the freedom of movement. It shall also propose measures with a view to overcoming the specific difficulties these populations may face due to their nomadic lifestyle.

    Functions

    The Forum could deliver opinions and make proposals to decision-making bodies in Europe at international, national, regional or local level in order to influence decision-making processes likely to affect Roma and Travellers whether directly or indirectly. It is to promote a dialogue between the Roma and Traveller communities and governments and to encourage the exchange of best practices as well as the implementation of national policies in the field of Roma and Travellers in a European framework.

    Composition

    1. The Plenary Assembly of the Forum shall be composed by a maximum of 75 delegates.

    2. The Committee of Ministers considers that the task of determining the exact composition of the Forum shall be primarily assigned to the founders of the Forum, it being understood that the criteria for the selection of the first Forum will be defined and subject to examination by the Committee of Ministers. In order for the partnership agreement to be concluded, they shall be in conformity with a certain number of criteria laid down by the Committee of Ministers in these Guidelines. These criteria include the respect of the general principles of the Council of Europe and of agreed principles of representativity, transparency, geographical specificity and gender equality. To this end, the Committee of Ministers lays down the following general criteria:

    - respect for the principles of the Council of Europe;

    - the members of the Forum shall be elected among international, transnational/subregional and national NGOs or other existing national structures for Roma and/or Traveller participation, where appropriate, aiming at representation of both nomadic and sedentary lifestyles;

    - the significant majority of the seats in the Forum shall be filled by representatives of national NGOs or of other existing national structures;

    - representative international Roma and Traveller organisations shall be represented in the Forum. Criteria shall be laid down in the Statute for identifying satisfactory representativity;

    - the possibility shall be provided for the participation of representatives of national Roma and Traveller organisations from each member state with a Roma and/or Travellers population;

    - the composition of the Forum should aim to reflect the principles of geographical specificity and gender equality;

    - the Forum could seek the assistance of experts if the necessary expertise on specific issues cannot be found within the Forum;

    - in the light of the partnership agreement, the Council of Europe shall have observer status with the Forum;

    - the Forum may also grant observer status to the European Union and to international organisations, such as the OSCE, the UN specialised agencies, the World Bank and international non-governmental human rights organisations;

    - the Forum may also grant observer status to established religious bodies and churches to which Roma and Travellers traditionally belong, the representatives to be nominated by the competent religious authorities.

    3. There shall be a certain flexibility at the national level with respect to the selection of delegates to the Forum, although it is clear that they must be selected by the Roma and Travellers. The principle of flexibility shall be applied in particular in the selection of the first Forum, which shall be given the task of developing the selection system with a view to finding a more coherent procedure. The organisations that become members of the Forum, and that select delegates to it, will have to respect the general principles of the Council of Europe and also to respect principles of representativity, transparency, geographical specificity and gender equality. Eligible organisations are those that have aims that are compatible with those of the Forum, ie. Roma and Traveller organisations aiming to promote the interests of Roma and/or Travellers.

    Administrative organs

    The management bodies of the Forum shall be a Plenary Assembly and an Executive Committee. The Forum shall be serviced by a Secretariat.

    Finance

    Subject to the budgetary decisions which the Committee of Ministers takes each year, the Forum will receive an annual contribution awarded by the Council of Europe which shall contribute to the Forum's basic running expenses (in principle one plenary meeting, two bureau meetings, including interpretation and translation). The Forum shall, with a view of gradually becoming financially self-sustaining, actively seek funding from other sources, such as other international organisations, member states of the Council of Europe (voluntary contributions) or any other private or public source intended to further the Forum's aims in general or a specific purpose not contrary to the Forum's Statute.

    The Committee of Ministers will review the principle of a Council of Europe financial contribution to the Forum every three years.

    The details concerning the Council of Europe's contribution will be specified in the partnership agreement to be concluded between the Forum and the Council of Europe (see below).

    Relations with the Council of Europe

    Relations between the Forum and the Council of Europe shall be formalised by a partnership agreement whereby the Council will undertake to use the Forum as a consultative body while contributing to the practical means enabling it to perform this role.

    The Council of Europe's approval of the agreement, which would be subject to the Forum's compliance with these broad guidelines concerning its manner of constitution (proper representation) and the principles of its functioning (transparency and democracy), will take the form of a document signed by the Secretary General on behalf of the Council of Europe and by the President of the Forum, mandated for this purpose in accordance with the relevant provision of the Statute of the Forum.

    The terms of the partnership agreement will be negotiated between the Council of Europe and the representatives of the Forum within a frame laid down by the Committee of Ministers. The latter will give the Secretary General the mandate to sign the agreement only when the Forum has actually been constituted.

    The Plenary Assembly of the Forum will approve the terms of the agreement.

    The partnership agreement shall contain the following elements:

    - details about the proposed annual financial contribution to the Forum from the Council of Europe;
    - arrangements for the Council of Europe's non-financial contribution to the operation of the Forum (contribution in terms of human resources, technical facilities, etc.);
    - conditions governing the participation of the Forum's representatives in Council of Europe activities relating to Roma and Travellers (list of the committees and bodies concerned).

    The agreement shall respect the independence and autonomy of the Forum.

    Appendix V

    Statute for a European Roma and Travellers Forum

    adopted by the Roma and Travellers Drafting Group meeting in Strasbourg on 12-13 July 2004

    Article 1: Constitution, Title, Statutory office

    1.1 An association shall be created with the name “European Roma and Travellers Forum”. (hereinafter referred to as “the Forum”).

    1.2 The Forum shall be established as a non-profit international non-governmental organisation. The Forum shall represent the populations of Roma, Sinti, Kalé, Travellers and related groups in Europe.

    1.3 The Forum shall have its seat in France, at the following address: (...), Strasbourg.

    1.4 The working languages of the Forum shall be Romani, English and French. Other languages may be used at the expense of the delegation requesting such languages.

    1.5 The Forum shall be set up in accordance with the local regime of the law on associations of the Lower Rhine, Upper Rhine and the Moselle governed by Articles 21-79 of the local Civil Code as well as with the present Statute.

    1.6 The Forum shall be registered at the Tribunal d'Instance of Strasbourg.

    Article 2: Aim

    2.1 The aim of the Forum is to promote the effective exercise by the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as protected by the legal instruments of the Council of Europe10 and other international legal instruments where applicable. It shall promote the struggle against racism and discrimination and facilitate the integration of these populations into the European societies and their participation in public life and in the decision-making process.

    2.2 The Forum shall make proposals to contribute to the improvement of the social conditions of the said populations both sedentary and itinerant.

    2.3 The aim of the Forum shall be non profit-making and all proceeds shall be invested in the activities of the Forum in accordance with the aim indicated in paragraph 1 above.

    Article 3: Functions

    3.1 To encourage the development and implementation of policies, programmes and activities which will enable the Forum to achieve its aim, it shall:

    - deliver opinions and make proposals to decision-making bodies in Europe at the European, international and national level and, where appropriate, at the regional or local level in order to influence decision-making processes likely to affect, directly or indirectly, the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 above.

    - take part in European and international cooperation designed to promote the interests of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 notably by proposing initiatives to the competent European and international bodies.

    - encourage the implementation of national policies concerning the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 above.

    Article 4: Duration

    The Forum shall be set up for an unlimited period of time.

    Article 5: Members

    5.1 The Forum shall consist of members representing the populations mentioned in Article 1.2.

    5.2 Membership shall be open to:

    i. One national umbrella organisation representing at least 75% of all established and officially registered structures representative of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 in each Council of Europe member State having such a population. According to the system in each country these representative structures could include Roma and Travellers non-governmental organisations, Roma and Travellers umbrella organisations, political parties with Roma elected members in the national and/or regional Parliaments, advisory bodies, self-government bodies,

    (hereinafter referred to as the “National members”);

    ii. officially registered international non-governmental organisations whose aims are compatible with those of the Forum, which have been active for at least four years, have affiliates/members in at least 10 member States of the Council of Europe and are financially independent of government funds, provided that they produce an annual audit report of all their activities,

    (hereinafter referred to as the “International members”).

    iii. The Executive Committee may confer honorary membership to benefactors and to personalities who have promoted the cause of the populations mentioned in Article 1 above.

    (hereinafter referred to as “Honorary members”).

    Honorary members will not have the right to vote in the Plenary Assembly

    Article 6: Delegations– Voting rights

    6.1 Subject to the provision in Article 6.4 below, each National member shall be entitled to appoint a delegation made up of a delegate and 3 substitutes to the Plenary Assembly.

    6.2 Subject to the provision in Article 6.4 below, each International member shall be entitled to appoint a delegation made up of 3 delegates to the Plenary Assembly.

    6.3 The composition of the delegation should reflect the principles of representativeness, transparency, geographical specificity, gender equality11 and generation balance.

    6.4 The Executive Committee shall be responsible for ensuring that the following criteria shall be complied with:

    - the total number of delegates shall not exceed 75;

    - the total number of delegates from National members shall always exceed the total number of delegates from International members. To guarantee this proportion the Executive Committee may, where necessary, reduce the number of delegates from the International members.

    6.5 The number of votes assigned to the delegation of each National member shall be determined by taking into account the geographical specificity of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 which could allow a vote also to the substitute/s according to the decision to be taken by the Executive Committee at the time of examining the application for membership. For the purposes of the Statute, substitutes with voting rights shall be considered as delegates. The vote is personal and non transferable.

    6.6. In case of death or resignation of one of its delegates, the Forum shall be entitled to appoint a replacement for the remaining term of this delegate.

    Article 7: Conditions for membership

    7.1 Application for membership as National and International members shall be made by written request addressed to the President of the Forum. Membership shall be acquired following a favourable decision of the Executive Committee, which shall ensure that the applicants meet the conditions set out in Article 5.2. If the request is rejected the applicant may appeal against the decision at the next meeting of to the Plenary Assembly by a registered letter addressed to the President of the Forum.

    7.2 Members shall pay a subscription fee. The amount of the fee shall be determined by the Plenary Assembly.

    7.3 A member may withdraw from the Forum by giving a three month notice to the President of the Forum. The subscription fee shall remain due for the year in which the member withdraws.

    7.4 The Executive Committee may, subject to confirmation by the Plenary Assembly, exclude a member from the Forum in case of violation by the member or the delegates of the member of the aims of the Forum or of any other provision of the Statute. The decision to exclude the member shall be notified one month in advance. The subscription fee shall remain due for the year in which the member is excluded.

    Article 8: Management bodies

    The Forum shall be serviced by a Secretariat and have the following management bodies:

    - a Plenary Assembly;
    - an Executive Committee.

    8.1 Plenary Assembly

    i. Meetings

    The Plenary Assembly shall meet at least once a year. It shall be convened in writing by the President or, in his or her absence, the Vice-President. Convocations shall be sent to members in writing at least one month prior to the date of the meeting and shall be accompanied by the agenda of the meeting.

    Only resolutions taken on questions which have appeared on the agenda shall be valid.

    Extraordinary meetings may be convened at the request of fifty per cent of the members.

    ii. Powers

    The Plenary Assembly shall pursue the Forum´s aims by:

    - discussing major issues affecting the populations mentioned in Article 1.2;

    - determining the Forum´s general policies;

    - drawing up the Forums´s work programme.

    It shall be empowered to:

    - approve the budgets and accounts;
    - set the amount of the subscription fee;
    - elect a president and a vice-president from among the delegates to the Forum;

    - elect the members of the Executive Committee from among the delegates to the Forum, keeping in mind the principles of gender and generation balance. One member of this Committee should be professionally specialised in financial matters.

    iii. Decision-making

    Delegates of the International Members shall have one vote each. The delegation of each National Member shall have the number of votes determined in accordance with Article 6.5 above.

    Subject to Articles 12 and 13, the decisions of the Plenary Assembly shall be taken by a simple majority of the votes.

    Half the delegates to the Forum shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, the President shall convene another meeting of the Assembly, which can sit legally whatever the number of delegates present.

    iv. Term of office

    Delegates shall be appointed for a period of four years and may be reappointed for a second term of four years.

    8.2 The Executive Committee

    The Executive Committee shall be composed of nine members: the President and the Vice-President of the Forum, and seven other members.

    It shall elect a treasurer and a secretary from amongst its members.

    It shall meet at least twice a year, when convened by the President or, in his/ her absence, the Vice-President. Extraordinary meetings may be held following the request of the President, the Vice-President or three members of the Executive Committee.

    Elections to the Executive Committee shall be convened every four years. Members of the Executive Committee can be re-elected for a second term of four years. The mandate of a member of the Executive Committee can only be revoked by a simple majority of votes of the Plenary Assembly. The Plenary Assembly shall elect a new member on the same occasion.

    The Executive Committee shall carry out the tasks given to it by the Plenary Assembly. It shall draw up the agenda for the meetings of the Plenary Assembly.

    It shall take its decisions by a simple majority.

    It may seek the assistance of experts if the necessary expertise on specific issues cannot be found in the Forum.

    8.3: Functions of the officials of the Executive Committee

    i. The President

    The President

    - shall ensure that the Statute is complied with and that the moral interests of the Forum are guaranteed;

    - shall supervise the management of the Forum's activities and be responsible for ensuring compliance with the decisions of the Executive Committee;

    - shall represent the Forum in all its functions or shall delegate such tasks to members of the Executive Committee.

    The President shall notify the Tribunal d'Instance of Strasbourg within 3 months of all decisions concerning changes in the composition of the Executive Committee, amendments to the Statute or dissolution.

    ii. The Treasurer

    The Treasurer shall be responsible for keeping the accounts of the Forum in proper order. He shall report to the Plenary Assembly at least once a year.

    iii. The Secretary

    The Secretary shall draw up the reports of the meetings of the Plenary Assembly and of the Executive Committee and keep a record of such reports.

    8.4: Rules of Procedure

    The Executive Committee shall draw up draft Rules of Procedure, specifying the necessary provisions to ensure the full implementation of the present Statute. The Executive Committee shall submit the draft Rules of Procedure to the Plenary Assembly for approval.

    Article 9: Finance

    9.1: Budgetary resources and accounts

    The Forum's financial resources shall include membership fees, grants awarded by the Council of Europe or other international organisations, voluntary contributions by member States and any other private or public contributions, which are not contrary to the aims of the Forum.

    9.2: Establishment and auditing of the accounts

    The budgets and accounts shall be prepared each year and, after approval by the Executive Committee, distributed to the Plenary Assembly for approval. All these documents shall be submitted to two internal auditors appointed by the Plenary Assembly and to an independent professional auditor and shall be communicated to the Council of Europe for information.

    Article 10: Relations with the Council of Europe

    Pursuant to terms of reference given by the Executive Committee, a draft agreement with the Council of Europe shall be drawn up and presented by the President of the Forum for approval by the Plenary Assembly. This agreement shall contain details concerning the arrangements for the Forum's co-operation with the Council of Europe.

    The agreement shall respect the Forum's independence and autonomy.

    Article 11: Relations with other international organisations

    The Forum shall seek regular cooperation with relevant European and international institutions active in the field of issues concerning the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 and may grant them observer status in the plenary meetings of the Forum.

    Article 12: Modification of the Statute of the Forum

    The Statute of the Forum can be modified by a two-thirds majority of votes at the Plenary Assembly.

    Article 13: Dissolution of the Forum

    The Forum can be dissolved by a two-thirds majority of votes at the Plenary Assembly.

    * * * *

    Transitional clauses

    1. The founding members shall adopt the Statute of the Forum, elect a President ad interim, register the Statute of the Forum with the Tribunal d'Instance in Strasbourg and call a meeting of the first Plenary Assembly. At this stage the founding members shall act as the Executive Committee ad interim of the Forum for the purposes of ensuring that the composition and the number of delegates admitted to sit at the Plenary Assembly, are in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Statute. The Executive Committee ad interim will be dissolved and the President ad interim will relinquish his/her functions at the first Plenary Assembly, which will elect a president, a vice-president and an executive committee for four (4) years functioning period; after that as specified in Article 8.1, ii.

    2. In derogation of Article 12, amendments to the Statute of the Forum can be made in the first Plenary Assembly by a simple majority.

    3. Where no one single umbrella organisation meeting the definition under Article 5.2 (i) above exists in a particular Council of Europe member State, a meeting of all the established structures representative of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 in such Council of Europe member State shall be entitled to appoint a delegation to sit in the Plenary Assembly, under the same conditions applying to National members and their delegations. However, such delegates shall be entitled to sit in the Plenary Assembly for only one term of office. After the expiration of this term, a delegate may only be re-appointed in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article 5.2 (i).

    For the purposes of Article 6.4, delegates appointed in accordance with this provision shall be considered as delegates from National members. In case of death or resignation, such delegates may be replaced for the remainder of their term by delegates appointed in accordance with this provision. They shall pay a subscription fee as members. Where a delegation is composed of more than one delegate, the delegation shall pay only one subscription fee.

    4. International non-governmental organisations, which are not officially registered but which fulfill all the other requirements under Article 5.2 (ii) above, shall be entitled to appoint a delegation to sit in the Plenary Assembly, under the same conditions applying to International members and their delegations. However, such delegates shall be entitled to sit in the Plenary Assembly for only one term of office. After the expiration of this term, a delegate may only be re-appointed in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article 5.2 (ii).

    For the purposes of Article 6.4, delegates appointed in accordance with this provision shall be considered as delegates from International members. In case of death or resignation, such delegates may be replaced for the remainder of their term by delegates appointed in accordance with this provision. The delegation shall pay a subscription fee as member.

    5. The rule in Article 6.6 equally applies to those individuals sitting in the Plenary Assembly as members.

    Appendix VI

    Draft partnership agreement between the Council of Europe and the European Roma and Travellers Forum

    The Council of Europe, represented by Mr Terry Davis, acting in his capacity as Secretary General,

    hereinafter “the Council of Europe”,

    and

    the European Roma and Travellers Forum, represented by ________________, President of the Forum, mandated for this purpose in accordance with Article 8 paragraph 3 of the Statute of the Forum,

    hereinafter “the Forum”,

    HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

    I. THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE'S RELATIONS WITH THE FORUM

    1. The Forum is a non-profit-making legal entity governed by the legislation in force in France. Its purpose is to oversee the effective exercise by Roma and Travellers of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as protected by the legal instruments of the Council of Europe. It shall promote the fight against racism and discrimination and facilitate the integration of these population groups into the European societies and their participation in public life, as specified in Article 2 of the Statute of the Forum. The Forum pursues this aim notably by proposing, in order to contribute to the improvement of the conditions of the said populations, the implementation of initiatives at the most adequate levels, primarily with regard to housing, health, education and employment.

    2. In the light of its aims, the Forum shall maintain special relations with the Council of Europe and in particular with those Council of Europe bodies whose activities are of direct interest to Roma and Travellers in Europe.

    3. The Council of Europe shall maintain special relations with the Forum. The Council of Europe's relations to the Forum shall be defined in the decisions taken by the competent Council of Europe bodies, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures thereof.12 These decisions shall specify the nature and time frame of the Forum's contribution to the work of the Council of Europe.

    4. The Council of Europe may have recourse to the expertise of the Forum with a view to integrating considerations pertaining to the situation of Roma and Travellers in Europe in its decision-making process. The Council of Europe shall have observer status with the Forum.

    II. SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE FOR THE FUNCTIONING OF THE FORUM

    In order to foster the development of the unique instrument for partnership which the Forum represents, the Council of Europe shall, under the present agreement, provide support for the functioning of the Forum in the form of:

    - a contribution in terms of human resources;
    - a contribution in terms of technical facilities;
    - a contribution in terms of financial resources.

    The Committee of Ministers will review the principle of a Council of Europe financial contribution to the Forum every three years.

    i. Human resources

    a. Under the terms of this agreement, the provision of any human resources made available to the Forum by the Council of Europe shall be the object of an exchange of letters between the Secretary General and the President of the Forum.

    b. Council of Europe staff members shall be placed at the disposal of the Forum's Secretariat after consultation with the President of the Forum. They shall remain under the authority of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and subject to the Council of Europe staff regulations.

    c. The placement of Council of Europe staff at the Forum's disposal may be terminated at the request of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the Forum or the staff members themselves. In the latter two cases, account shall be taken of the time needed to redeploy the staff members within the Council of Europe.

    d. In accordance with its Statute, the Forum may recruit staff in various countries to carry out its activities. Staff recruited in this way shall be remunerated and managed in accordance with the labour law of the place of recruitment and may not claim any link whatsoever with the Council of Europe in respect of contractual and working conditions or benefit from the privileges and immunities enjoyed by Council of Europe staff.

    ii. Technical facilities provided to the Secretariat of the Forum

    a. The Council of Europe shall make available on a temporary basis in its premises in Strasbourg an area for the functioning of the Forum's Secretariat. The premises assigned to the Forum shall be maintained and insured by the Council of Europe under the same conditions as its other facilities.

    - The Forum shall not be entitled to invoke any privilege or immunity enjoyed by the Council of Europe, nor shall it benefit, under any circumstance or title, from the privileges and immunities that apply to the buildings and premises of the Council of Europe.

    - The assignment of premises to the Forum shall not prejudge the application of the privileges and immunities attached to the Council of Europe, its property, funds and assets, in accordance with the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe and the Special Agreement relating to the Seat of the Council of Europe.

    - The Forum shall observe all regulations applicable to persons on the premises of the Council of Europe, and shall use the premises assigned to it in conformity with all security regulations of the Council of Europe.
    b. With a view to the day-to-day functioning of its Secretariat in Strasbourg, the Forum may have access to the Council of Europe's interpretation and translation facilities in the two official languages of the Council of Europe and in Romani, as well as the Council of Europe's meeting rooms, mailing service and office automation and computer facilities, under the following conditions:

    - These facilities shall be provided to the Secretariat of the Forum solely as a contribution to its day-to-day administration (for example, one General Assembly per year, two meetings per year of the Executive Committee).

    - The Council of Europe shall not provide meeting rooms, interpretation, translation or mailing facilities for activities of the Forum unrelated to its relations with the Council of Europe.

    - The facilities made available will be given on the basis of a negotiated envelope.

    iii. Financial resources

    The Council of Europe shall allocate an annual contribution towards the functioning of the Forum, subject to the budgetary decisions which the Committee of Ministers takes each year. The amount of the Council of Europe's financial contribution shall contribute to the Forum's basic running expenses (in principle one plenary meeting, two bureau meetings, including interpretation and translation). The Forum's annual audited accounts shall be submitted to the Council of Europe for verification of the proper use of the contribution. In addition to the audited accounts, the Forum shall submit its draft budget for the following financial year, in time for its consideration by the Council of Europe during the procedure of adoption of the Council of Europe budget.

The Forum shall also submit an annual evaluation report to the Council of Europe.

    The Forum shall, with a view to gradually becoming self-sustaining, actively seek funding from other sources, such as other international organisations, member states of the Council of Europe (voluntary contributions) or any other private or public source intended to further the Forum's aims in general or a specific purpose not contrary to the Forum's Statute.

    The Forum shall make its accounts available for any further verification, including checks on the spot, of the proper use of the contribution by the Council of Europe, its auditors or its appointed representative.

    III. GENERAL PROVISIONS

    1. In the course of its activities the Forum shall comply with the basic principles and general policy guidelines laid down for Council of Europe activities. Neither the Council of Europe as such, nor its member states, shall be bound in any way by the statements and activities of the Forum. If it were found that the Forum was engaged in activities contrary to the above principles or to the provisions of the present agreement, the Council of Europe can immediately suspend all co-operation.

    2. This agreement is drawn up for a period of three years starting from ______. The agreement may be renegotiated on the basis of an independent evaluation and renewed at the end of this period, depending on developments of relations between the Forum and the Council of Europe. In the absence of any specific decision, the agreement shall be tacitly renewed for subsequent periods of one year. During this period, the terms of the agreement may also be amended or supplemented by means of a supplementary agreement between the parties, drawn up in writing.

    3. In accordance with the provisions of Article 21 of the General Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Council of Europe, any dispute between the Secretary General and the Forum concerning the application of this agreement shall, failing a friendly settlement between the parties, be submitted to arbitration as provided in Order No. 481 issued by the Secretary General with the approval of the Committee of Ministers.

    Done in _______ on __________

    for the Council of Europe for the European Forum for Roma and Travellers
    the Secretary General the President

    ___________________ ___________________

    APPENDIX

    The following are brief indications on the legal foundation upon which the various Council of Europe bodies could decide to establish relations of co-operation with the Forum. The list of cited bodies does not purport to be exhaustive.

    A. Relations with the Committee of Ministers

    According to the general rule set forth in document CM(99)167 on the Working Methods of the Ministers' Deputies, when a Rapporteur Group considers that there is the need to make any contact outside the Council of Europe, the Group's Chairman must first consult the Chairman of the Ministers' Deputies who may in turn decide to consult the Bureau, and, if necessary, the Ministers' Deputies.

    The Deputies could authorise its Rapporteur Groups to invite a representative of the Forum to their meetings whenever engaging in a debate of concern for the Roma people.

    With the Deputies' authorisation, the Rapporteur Groups would be entitled to consult the Forum without the prior approval of the Deputies' Chairman and could decide to invite the Roma representative on a case-by-case basis, depending on the items on their agenda.

    B. Relations with Committees of the Parliamentary Assembly

    Rule 44, paragraph 5, of the Rules of procedure of the Assembly provides that each Committee may develop relations with non-governmental organisations which carry out activities within the Committee's terms of reference.

    Committees establish the conditions on which any person other than members of observer and special guest delegations may be heard during their meetings (refer to Rule 47, paragraph 7). Accordingly, each Committee retains the power to decide how the Forum might be associated in its activities.

    C. Relations with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

    Rule 8, Paragraph 2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Congress states that: " the Standing Conference of the Congress may grant observer status to other organisations that request it. In that case, such an organisation will have the status of observer to the Congress and to both Chambers.”

    Paragraph 3 adds that "Organisations with the status of observer to the Congress have the right to take part in the proceedings of the Congress and of its Chambers, with the right to speak, subject to the Chair's consent but not to vote. They may also at their own expenses, submit memoranda relating to subjects on the agenda of plenary sessions of the Congress or its Chambers.”

    Finally, Paragraph 4 states that “the Standing Committee, the Bureau of the Congress, the Statutory Committees and the ad hoc working groups may invite one or more representatives of organisations which have the status of observer to the Congress to attend the whole or part of a given meeting.”

    D. Relations with the Commissioner for Human Rights

    By virtue of the independent nature of the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the decision to consult, or cooperate with, outside experts or consultants, is vested with the Commissioner him- or herself. According to Article 5 of his/her mandate, the Commissioner may act on any information relevant to the Commissioner's functions. This will notably include information addressed to the Commissioner by governments, national parliaments, national ombudsmen or similar institutions in the field of human rights, individuals and organisations.

    Taking into account the continuous activities of the Commissioner for Human Rights in the field of promotion of the rights of the Roma, the establishment of close working relations with the Forum is of great importance. The forms of co-operation that could be envisaged between the Commissioner and the Forum include regular information exchange and possible joint activities.

    E. Relations with the Co-ordinator on activities concerning Roma/Gypsies

    The Co-ordinator on activities concerning Roma/Gypsies will offer his/her support to the Forum, whenever necessary, with a view to co-ordinating its relations with the Council of Europe.

    F. Relations with the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

    According to Article 36 of the Rules of procedure of the Advisory Committee, the decision to consult outside experts or consultants is vested with the Committee itself.

    At its 835th meeting (8 April 2003, item 4.3), the Deputies:

    1. took note of the Advisory Committee's intention, as from the second reporting cycle and for subsequent cycles, to seek where appropriate information from international organisations, ombudsmen and national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as from representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations;

    2. authorised the Advisory Committee to hold meetings with non-governmental bodies and independent institutions in the context of visits conducted by the Advisory Committee to the State Parties concerned as from the second reporting cycle and for subsequent cycles;

    3. authorised the Advisory Committee during the second reporting cycle to hold meetings outside the context of the country-visit to the State Party concerned with non-governmental bodies and independent institutions with prior notification of the state, in order to ensure that the Advisory Committee is provided with a balanced range of opinion. Such meetings should in principle be held in Strasbourg on the occasion of meetings of the Advisory Committee and have to be organised within the existing budgetary resources.

    It follows from this decision that the Advisory Committee could draw information from the Forum for the purposes of carrying out its monitoring functions.

    G. Relations with the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

    According to Article 6 its Statute (Resolution Res(2002)8), ECRI may seek the assistance of rapporteurs or of consultants, organise consultations with interested parties and may be seized directly by non-governmental organisations on any questions covered by its terms of reference.

    Co-operation between ECRI and the Forum could take the form of regular exchanges of information and joint activities on subjects of common interest, notably in the framework of ECRI's relations with civil society.

    H. Relations with the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages

    In accordance with Article 12 of the Rules of Procedure of the Committee of Experts, the Committee may consult and hear any person, organisation or Government representative whom it considers to be in a position to assist it in the performance of its functions under the Charter.

    In line with the above, the decision to consult a representative of the Forum during the Committee's meetings is to be taken by the Committee itself.

    I. Relations with intergovernmental structures

    Any measure to allow a representative of the Forum to participate in a Steering Committee meeting would need to comply with paragraph 5 of Resolution (76)3 on committee structures, terms of reference and working methods, which reads:

    “Any steering committee may, by a unanimous decision, admit or admit to any committee answerable to it, observers from non-member states of the Council of Europe, or from intergovernmental or non-governmental international organisations, provided that:

    i. Any request for admission as an observer shall be forwarded without delay by the Secretary General both to the Permanent Representatives of member states and to the members of the steering committee concerned;

    ii. Any government so notified may inform the Secretary General within four weeks of its intention to refer the matter to the Committee of Ministers for decision. This decision shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of all the Representatives entitled to sit on the Committee.”

    However, to avoid each individual Steering Committee having to take a decision to admit the Forum as an observer, it could be envisaged that the Committee of Ministers, when taking the relevant decisions on the Council of Europe's relations with the Forum, decides to admit it as observer to a certain number of Steering and Expert Committees, to be enumerated in the decision. These might be:

    1. European Committee on Migration (CDMG)

    It should be noted that with respect to the Group of Specialists on Roma, Gypsies and Travellers
    (MG-S-ROM) the following applies:

    - Paragraph 5 (c), according to which “The Council of Europe will also cover the participation of 8 Romani representatives and independent experts which can usefully contribute to the work of the Group”;

    - Paragraph 6, under which terms “It shall establish working relations with selected Roma/Gypsy associations which it judges to be in a position to make a useful contribution to its work” and “may be assisted in its work by consultants”.

    2. European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)

    3. European Health Committee (CDSP)

    4. Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH)

    5. Steering Committee of the Confidence-Building Measures Programme (CBM)

    6. Steering Committee for Education (CD-ED)

    7. Steering Committee for Culture (CD-CULT)

    8. Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG)

    9. Committee of Experts on Nationality (CJ-NA)

    Appendix VII

 

    ESTIMATE OF COSTS - EUROPEAN FORUM FOR ROMA AND TRAVELLERS (1 - 3)

    Travel and Subsistence Expenditure

    75 members to attend plenary meeting

    Plenary Meeting - 3 Days

    74 300

    Bureau Meeting 1 ( 9 Members) 2 Days

    7 900

    Bureau Meeting 2 ( 9 Members) 2 Days

    7 900

    TOTAL COST for Travel and Subsistence

    90 100

    Overheads

     

    Interpretation (3 Languages )

    Plenary Meeting - 3 Days

    18 500

    Bureau Meeting 1 ( 9 members) 2 Days

    13 500

    Bureau Meeting 2 ( 9 members) 2 Days

    13 500

    TOTAL COST for interpretation (1 Plenary, 2 Bureau)

    45 500

    Estimate of Costs of translation, document production, postage, on the basis of meeting of a Committee of similar size to the Forum.

     

    Translation

    10 000

    Document production and postage

    6 400

    TOTAL COST for translation, document production and postage

    16 400

    Staff other than CoE (1 Post )

    48 000

    TOTAL COST (without CoE redeployment of two posts)

    200 000

    COUNCIL OF EUROPE NON CASH CONTRIBUTION (4)

     

    Contribution in terms of Human Resources by the Council of Europe (one B3 and one B4) Salary Cost

    120 900

    Contribution in terms of Common Expenditure - 2 Council of Europe Staff members (5)

    53 000

    Contribution in terms of Pension Provision - 2 Council of Europe Staff members (5)

    15 000

    Office cost for 1 non CoE staff (5)

    8 000

    Hire of meeting rooms

    3 500

    TOTAL VALUE of Council of Europe non cash contribution

    200 400

    OVERALL TOTAL

    400 400

   

    1. The above figures only concern meeting expenses and no provision for activities included

    2. The above estimates are based on 2004 prices

 

    3. The above budget estimates are for meetings taking place in Strasbourg

    4. Office running costs (telephone, fax etc) will be paid directly by the FORUM itself

    5. Calculated on the basis of the relevant calculations in respect of Partial Agreements

    Appendix VIII

    Establishment of the European Roma and Travellers Forum

    Decisions

    The Deputies

    1. took note of the final activity report of the Working Party with the task of examining the question of a possible forum for Roma and Travellers (GT-ROMS) as contained in document GT-ROMS(2004)9;

    2. adopted the guidelines for the establishment of a European Roma and Travellers Forum as contained in Appendix … to this volume of Decisions <see also document GT-ROMS(2004)9, Appendix IV>;

    3. took note of the present version of the Statute as contained in Appendix … to this volume of Decisions <see also document GT-ROMS(2004)9, Appendix V>;

    4. authorised the Secretary General to sign the partnership agreement between the Council of Europe and the European Roma and Travellers Forum as contained in Appendix … to this volume of Decisions. <see also document GT-ROMS(2004)9, Appendix VI>;

    5. encouraged their Rapporteur Groups to invite a representative of the Forum to their meetings as an observer whenever engaging in a debate of particular concern to the Roma and Travellers;

    6. decided to invite the European Roma and Travellers Forum to send a representative as an observer to the meetings of the Steering Committees enumerated in Appendix … to this volume of Decisions <see also document GT-ROMS(2004)9, Appendix VI (appendix, point I 1-9) >;

    7. decided to unfreeze the budget appropriations for 2004 for the use of the Forum [Sub-head 3900- 600 4933, Provision for the European Roma and Travellers Forum].

Note 1 The Working Party met on 6 March, 2 June, 7 July, 18 September, 23 October, 24 November 2003, 1 December and 16 December 2003.
Note 2 In 2004, the Working Party met on 22 January, 19 February, 23 March, 3 May, 10 June, 5 July, 23 September and 19 October.

    3 The details of these exchanges are contained in document GT-ROMS(2003)CB2.

Note 4 The details of these exchanges are contained in documents GT-ROMS(2003)CB2, GT-ROMS(2003)CB4 and GT-ROMS(2003)CB6.
Note 5 The details of these exchanges are contained in documents GT-ROMS(2003)CB4, which also contains details about which Roma and Traveller organisations were present in that meeting, and GT-ROMS(2004)CB2. Document GT-ROMS(2004)3, contains information on the Roma and Traveller organisations and other structures that were represented at the latter meeting.

    6 The details of these exchanges are contained in document GT-ROMS(2003)CB3.

Note 7 Document GT-ROMS(2004)3 contains information on the various Roma and Traveller organisations and other structures taking part in the elaboration of the draft statute.
Note 8 These are reflected in document GR-AB(2004)CB10.
Note 9 “Roma” refers, in accordance with the Council of Europe and other international organisations' texts, also to Sinti, Travellers, Gypsies and other Roma related groups.
Note ( Proposal made by the Swiss delegation.
Note (( Proposal made by the Romanian delegation.
Note ( Proposal made by the Swiss delegation.
Note *** Proposal made by the Secretariat.
Note **** Proposal made by the Hungarian delegation.

    10 Such as the Council of Europe Statute, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the European Social Charter (revised).

    11 National and International members shall appoint their delegation bearing in mind the principle of gender balance as described in the Committee of Ministers Recommendation on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making adopted on 12 March 2003 :i.e. "for the purpose of this recommendation, balanced participation of women and men is taken to mean that the representation of either women or men in any decision-making body in political or public life should not fall below 40%". Each delegation should therefore include at least one person of each sex. With regard to the participation in meetings of the Plenary Assembly, where more than one person is participating, at least one person of each sex should participate; where only one person is sitting in the Assembly arrangements should be made to ensure that the member of the delegation of the opposite sex has the opportunity to participate (e.g. alternate participation, rotating system).

Note 12 As an indication a non exhaustive list of the competent Council of Europe bodies and their relevant rules and procedures is contained in the Appendix.