Monitoring the application of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages provides for a monitoring mechanism to evaluate how the Charter is applied in a State Party with a view to, where necessary, making recommendations for improvements in its legislation, policy and practice. The central element of the monitoring mechanism is a Committee of independent experts
, established in accordance with Article 17 of the Charter.
Click here for the documents related to the monitoring mechanism.
The biennial report of the Secretary General to the Parliamentary Assembly
Once every two years, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe has to present to the Parliamentary Assembly a detailed report on the application of the Charter. This ensures that the members of Europe’s parliaments are kept informed about the application of the Charter, enabling them to bring political pressure to bear if necessary to encourage national governments to take appropriate measures.
Access to the reports
Monitoring takes place in 3-yearly cycles, in the following stages:
1 - Submission of a periodical report by the State Party
Each State Party must submit a periodical report to the Secretary General every three years, explaining their policies and the action they have taken to fulfil the commitments they have undertaken. The reports must be drafted according to the outlines adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which set out the structure of the state reports. These reports are published and may be obtained from the states concerned and from the Council of Europe.
2 - Monitoring exercise carried out by the Committee of Experts
During each monitoring cycle, the Committee:
- examines the state's periodical report;
- where necessary, addresses a number of questions to the Party on any unclear areas of the report;
- organises an "on-the-spot" visit to the state, to meet authorities, non-governmental organisations or any other competent body in order to evaluate the application of the Charter;
- examines any further information submitted by associations and other bodies legally established in the state concerned and with an interest in the field of languages (further information on the role of NGOs in the Charter's monitoring mechanism);
- prepares its own evaluation report on the basis of the information obtained, and addresses it to the Committee of Ministers, including proposals for recommendations to be made to states.
3 - Committee of Ministers' recommendations to the States Parties
Once it has considered the Committee of Experts’ report, the Committee of Ministers may decide to make it public. It may also decide to make recommendations to states with a view to their taking the necessary action to bring their policies, legislation and practice into line with their obligations under the Charter.
After the publication of an evaluation report, the Council of Europe may organise a Charter Implementation Roundtable in the State Party concerned. This follow-up meeting is chaired by a member of the Committee of Experts and offers an opportunity for representatives of the authorities and the minority associations to discuss concrete steps towards the implementation of the monitoring recommendations. In 2009, for example,
a roundtable took place in the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Novi Sad (Serbia)