Non-Governmental Organisations

    SPRING SESSION

    EUROPE AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES
    TRANSVERSAL GROUP
    CONF/TG/GLO (2010) SYN2

    Strasbourg, 10 May 2010

SYNOPSIS
OF THE MEETING ON 26 APRIL 2010

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

Michel Julien, President of the Europe and Global Challenges Transversal Group, opened the session and explained that the meeting would be divided into two parts, one of which would be held in conjunction with the Human Rights Committee to discuss the sensitive issue of migrants.

    The Europe and Global Challenges Transversal Group meeting on 26 April 2010:

    1. Unanimously adopted the agenda after changing the order of the speakers to fit in with Jean-Marie Heydt’s timetable.

    2. Adopted the synopsis of the meeting held on 25 January 2010 and drew attention to the changes that had been made to the original version.

    3. Seminar on “perspectives for co-operation between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Council of Europe“ on 22 and 23 February 2010, Rabat, Morocco (Jean-Marie Heydt)

      The seminar was held in the context of Morocco's accession to the North-South Centre and entailed an exchange of views on civil society, health, education and democracy. One of the outcomes of intercultural dialogue was the determination to create bridges between continents but the Council of Europe would have to decide how it could meet these expectations and what follow-up it could give to such meetings. The Parliamentary Assembly intended to hold a debate on the Euro-Mediterranean.

    4. Official ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the North-South Centre in Lisbon, Portugal on 18 May 2010

    Took note of the new challenges posed by global interdependence and solidarity in the context of North-South relations;

    Took note of the Committee of Ministers' decision to launch a consultation on the modification of the statutes of the North-South Centre at the initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly.
    Hoped that the new statutory provisions, proposing that the North-South be extended to all member states of the Council of Europe, would include:

      - the promotion of respect for human rights and of their implementation;
      - conditions for the participation of NGOs, in both the northern and southern hemispheres;
      - the need to promote a genuine awareness of the importance of solidarity, the bedrock of the Council of Europe;
      - the need to consult the INGO Conference prior to the accession of any new member of the North-South Centre.

    5. Listened with interest to the statement by Dr Uwe Holtz (member of the Parliamentary Assembly when the North-South Centre was established), who described the creation of the North-South Centre following the Madrid Appeal (1988): “ We, members of Parliament and representatives of European non-governmental organisations ... express our deep conviction that the fate that the fate of the countries of the North is intimately bound up with the future of those in the South“. The moral obligation of co-operation and solidarity was more important than ever. The work programme concerned three areas: education and youth, human rights and democracy. Mr Holz mentioned the three-year co-operation agreement between the European Commission and the North-South Centre, as well as the agreements governing relations between the Centre, on the one hand, and the Parliamentary Assembly the Congress and the INGO Conference, on the other. The challenge was to move on from an enlarged partial agreement (19 of the 47 member states) to an enlarged agreement. Three non-member states of the Council of Europe had become members of the North-South Centre: le Cap-Verde, Morocco and the Holy See.

    6. Heard Sophie Dimitroulias (Association of Women of Southern Europe (AFEM)) present the INGO Conference’s draft opinion on Recommendation 1893(2009) of the Parliamentary Assembly on the Future of the North-South Centre.

      Decided, after a discussion on paragraphs 12 and 13 of the opinion, to devote part of the June meeting to studying a summary of the North-South Centre's activities

    7. Relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe after the Lisbon Treaty

      Took note of Claude-Laurent Genty's request to have at least 15 to 20 minutes to discuss the subject and propose that the discussion be deferred to the June meeting.

    8. Working Group on Africa (Louise Coffi)

      Took note of the challenge presented by the current decrease in development aid and of organised civil society's four proposals for action:

      - the drafting of a handbook of good practices;
      - participation of NGOs in the creation of activities to avoid rural exodus;
      - foreseeing possible changes in development aid;
      - considering the possibility of establishing an NGO network.