Non-Governmental Organisations

SPRING SESSION
EUROPE AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES

TRANSVERSAL GROUP
CONF/TG/GLO (2009) SYN2

Strasbourg, 5 May 2009

SYNOPSIS
OF THE MEETING ON 28 APRIL 2009

FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE EUROPE AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES TRANSVERSAL GROUP

The Europe and Global Challenges Transversal Group met on 28 April 2009 with Michel Julien in the chair.

1. Opening of the meeting

    The Chair said that he was standing for election to the post of Chair in June, and that candidacies for the post of Vice-Chair could now be submitted.

2. The Group adopted the agenda.

3. The Group adopted the synopsis of the meeting on 29 January [CONF/TG/GLO(2009)SYN1].

    4. Statement by Marie-JosÚ Schmitt in her capacity as rapporteur on the new format for reports

      The Group noted that:

      - the Social Cohesion and Eradication of Poverty Committee had set up a working group on poverty;
      - no official decision had been taken on the Council of Europe's involvement in the "European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion" that the European Union was launching in 2010.

5. Progress in the working groups

      Legal status of NGOs in Russia: Cyril Ritchie

      The Group noted that, following the Regional Congress in Penza (5-7 December 2008), the Duma and the Public Chamber had produced a large number of texts supporting an improvement in Russian legislation on NGOs, which the Ministry of Justice was responsible for drafting. The Ministry had, to that end, set up a special office for NGOs. This change had been prompted by a decision by the Governmental Committee, which was aware of the failings of the existing system and the shortcomings that needed to be remedied.

      The Group noted that the various conferences that had taken place at regional level with NGOs had revealed the NGOs' expertise and borne fruit.

      Strengthening of the Euro-Mediterranean dimension: Sophie Dimitroulias

      The Group noted that:

      - during his visit to Morocco, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly had stressed the need to strengthen co-operation with the countries of the Maghreb. Attention was drawn in this connection to Resolution 1598 (2008) on strengthening relations with the Maghreb countries;

      - the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue had been translated into Turkish;

      - a conference had been held in Lisbon on 2 and 3 April at the instigation of the North-South Centre, on the theme "Status and political participation: women as agents of change in the Euro-Mediterranean region" (link to programme). The Euro-Mediterranean platform had adopted a text recommending abolishing all provisions discriminating against women in legislation, including bilateral agreements (link to conclusions). The Council of Europe's North-South Centre was open to all the countries in the South. Morocco was the first non-European country to join it;

      - female immigration was taking on proportions that were alarming, especially as women were subject to more discrimination than their male counterparts in holding centres.

6. Priority areas: co-operation with the committees

      The Group regretted:

      - that the committees were not officially represented in the transversal groups;
      - the lack of clear communication methods.

      The Group expressed the desire for feedback from people sitting on the various steering committees.

      As the time allotted for the meeting had elapsed, it was not possible to address the other items on the agenda.

Cc: President of the INGO Conference
Members of the Standing Committee
Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly
Secretary General of the Congress
Secretary of the Committee of Ministers
Directors General
Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights
Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Director of External Relations
Director of Strategic Planning
Director of Communication
Director of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights